Channel Tunnel COVID-19 enforcement


The UK government has introduced measures to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) through international travel.  

ORR has been granted powers under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Pre-Departure Testing and Operator Liability)(England)(Amendment) Regulations 2021 to take enforcement action against rail operators in relation to coronavirus track and trace and its containment.

Rail operators had been required to ensure that all passengers who presented at border control in either France or England had a completed Passenger Locator Form and a notification of negative test result. Failure to do so was a criminal offence for which ORR has the power to impose either a Fixed Penalty Notice or take enforcement in the criminal court.

On 18 March 2022 the health protection regulations were removed. We are now working with carriers to address outstanding offences that took place up to this date.

Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs)

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Operators were required to check passengers had complied with these requirements prior to boarding their train to the UK. 

Where a passenger arriving into the UK by rail is identified as having failed to comply with one or more of these requirements, Border Force may issue a financial penalty against the passenger and ORR may also issue a financial penalty (in the form of a Fixed Penalty Notice or ‘FPN’) against the operator. 

Operators have 28 days to pay or contest the FPN and provide evidence to us, demonstrating that they performed the necessary checks on the passenger concerned. In such cases, where operators are able to demonstrate compliance, we will rescind the FPN. In addition to issuing FPNs, our enforcement policy provides the flexibility to pursue alternative enforcement approaches simultaneously, including the ability to investigate and prosecute carriers for systemic failure to comply with the legislation. 

Quarterly breakdown of FPNs

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Period FPNs served FPNs rescinded FPNs paid
Quarter 1
(January to March 2022)
11 5 1
Quarter 4
(October to December 2021)
1 1 2
Quarter 3
(July to September 2021)
4 9 24
Quarter 2
(April to June 2021)
93 9 64
Quarter 1
(January to March 2021)
11 - -
Total 120 24 91

Please note:

  • Cases may not be split equally between carriers.
  • On average, it takes around 40 days for an FPN to be served on an operator from the date the non-compliant passenger arrives into the UK.