FINGERPRINT checks set to be introduced on the EU border could cause significant disruption to holidaymakers, industry experts have warned.

In May next year the EU is scheduled to bring in a new system of biometric checks at all border crossings for non-EU travellers.

The EU’s new “Entry-Exit System” will also require UK nationals wishing to travel into the EU to apply for a travel authorisation document that will allow them to travel into the bloc for three years.

The new measures mean that when British citizens seek to enter the EU they will be expected to show a full facial image and provide four fingerprints, with only children under-12 exempt.

The system will be in place at all EU entry points, including ports and airports, and is expected to have a large impact on ports at Dover and Folkestone.

The Eurostar terminal at St Pancras in London is also expected to be severely impacted by longer wait times for passengers.

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Technical glitches delayed the introduction of biometric checks by a year, causing fears that the system may still not be fit to process millions of travellers.

"Significant and continued disruption"

Speaking to the House of Commons transport committee Doug Bannister, chief executive of the Port of Dover, warned that the system could cause “significant and continued disruption for a very long time” and that it is “going to have a higher impact on families wishing to go abroad next summer.”

He also expressed concerns that the time it takes to process a car at the port could increase from around 90 seconds to 10 minutes.

He told MPs: “We’ve heard that there could be some technology that is sort of an iPad with handholds to register the fingerprints. But we haven’t trialled it. How do you pass that around a car? What happens if you’ve got a child asleep in the backseat?

“What if it’s a dark stormy night and the lighting is inappropriate? We haven’t tested all of that.”

He added: “We need to know what the rules of the game are. We need to see what the technology is going to be, we need a sufficient amount of time to trial, test and train to use that technology before implementation.”

Trials of the technology are due to begin this month in Calais.

"Blame lies at Tories' door"

The SNP have laid blame for the expected disruption, which is likely to add to the major delays already seen at border crossings this summer, on Brexit and the Tories. 

The SNP's Europe spokesperson Dr Philippa Whitford MP said: "Yet again ordinary people are being forced to pay a heavy price for the Tories' extreme Brexit obsession.

"These latest proposed checks for travellers will only add to the Brexit chaos and impact on people's holidays - and the blame lies solely at the door of the Tory government.

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"The reality is that Brexit has been an unmitigated disaster - harming our economy, hitting businesses and impacting people's everyday lives.

"With both the Tories and Labour committed to Brexit, the only way to escape harmful Westminster control and the long-term damage of Brexit is to become an independent country."

"Narrow-minded and isolationist agenda"

Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer told The National: "This is the sad and inevitable consequence of the Tories' reckless and incompetent Brexit, which Scotland is now suffering from despite voting overwhelmingly against.

"Whether it has been the increased prices that we are all paying in shops, the extra red tape that is hampering businesses and costing jobs or the chaos at Dover, Brexit has been a complete disaster.

"The Tories may have promised 'Global Britain' but they have set up even more barriers and hurdles in the name of their narrow-minded and isolationist agenda, hammering our economy and removing our rights in the process.

"It doesn't need to be like this, and I look forward to the day when Scotland can re-join the EU as an independent member state."

It comes as the SNP welcome the reopening of a ferry link between Scotland and Belgium, which could be transporting passengers as soon as next year.

The proposed crossing from Rosyth to Zeebrugge would be the only sea link to Belgium in the whole of the UK.