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Travel latest news: Two-thirds of England told to avoid holidays

More than 60 per cent of England’s population are advised against travel for “non-essential” reasons from today as parts of the country wake up to tougher Covid-19 restrictions.

From 00.01 this morning, people in London, along with parts of Hertfordshire and Essex, are living under Tier 3 rules – very high alert. As part of this, accommodation such as hotels and B&Bs must close, and people must avoid travelling outside the area they live in, including for overnight stays.

The move, described as “absolutely essential” by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, has thrown winter holiday plans into disarray for many, and increased pressure on the UK’s stricken travel industry.

Serena von der Heyde, who owns the Victorian House Hotel in the Lake District and Georgian House Hotel in London, said plunging more of England into Tier 3 was “devastating”.

“I can’t describe how difficult it is to run a business which is losing money for so long, to work so hard to generate enough sales to break even and then in a moment, to lose all that we have worked for again,” she added.

The co-owner of the Tudor Farmhouse in the Forest of Dean, Hari Fell, told The Telegraph that the hotel expects 70 per cent of bookings to cancel between Christmas and New Year.

“London and the South East is a huge market for us and the majority of our bookings for the rest of the month are from these areas. The other areas that are big for us were already in Tier 3 – Bristol and Birmingham,” she said.

Scroll down for the latest updates.

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11:16AM

Why Britain’s first vineyard treehouse offers the perfect winter escape 

My colleague, Lizzie Frainier, spent two nights in a treehouse in southern England – and her trip sounds delightful.

Exiting lockdown two, I was all too happy to be headed to the Hampshire Downs for two nights in a treehouse where the rural location was the
raison d’etre.

We were the first weekend guests and having seen few photos, I had let my Tarzan-style preconceptions get the better of me, picturing rope ladders and freezing nights. Luckily, I had seriously underestimated master craftsman Will Hardy, who built The Damselfly along with three others during lockdown, and has spent a decade bringing private treehouses to life.

The Damselfly and its sisters sit on the edge of woodlands on Fullerton Farm in the Test Valley, six metres above ground and overlooking Black Chalk Wine’s vineyards. Trunks are intertwined into the fabric of the building and long wooden walkways lead you up into the leaves. Inside is a seriously souped-up treehouse that combines the cosy feeling of a cabin with a minimalist modern look and muted colour scheme. Huge windows let daylight flood in and capitalise on the views, while carefully selected furniture gives each its own stamp of personality, ranging from Scandi cool to rustic warmth.

Click here to read the full piece.

The cosy set-up inside The Damselfly

The cosy set-up inside The Damselfly

Credit:
DANIEL ALFORD 

11:06AM

Demand for flights is strong Down Under

The desire to travel remains strong in Australia, where almost 90 per cent of the population plans to fly domestically at some point in 2021.

Low-cost airline Jetstar said on Tuesday that new bookings were flooding in at such speed that it would begin operating more domestic flights than it was before the pandemic. By March 2021 they will fly 850 return flights – up 10 per cent when compared with March 2019.

And when Queensland opened its borders with New South Wales at the start of December, the Qantas Group (which includes Jetstar) sold 200,000 tickets from Sydney and Melbourne to Queensland in 72 hours.

10:56AM

The heart wants what the heart wants…

A lovesick roofer has been jailed for breaking coronavirus rules after he used a Jet Ski to travel from Scotland to the Isle of Man to see his girlfriend.

Dale McLaughlan, 28, who had never been on a Jet Ski before, took four hours to make the 25 miles crossing from the Isle of Whithorn in Scotland to Ramsey on the Isle of Man last Friday.

After coming ashore, Mr McLauglan had to trek another 15 miles in order to reach his girlfriend’s home in Douglas.

But his romantic gesture landed him in hot water after he was arrested by the authorities and charged with entering the Isle of Man illegally.

Martin Evans has the details.

10:53AM

The impact of cancelling Christmas

Cancelling Christmas would have far-reaching consequences across the retail, travel and hospitality sector, Patrick Sawer reports, as thousands of rail, coach and airline passengers could clamour for refunds if their journeys to family gatherings are scrapped.

Shoppers who have stocked up on food and drink in anticipation of relatives descending on them for Christmas will be forced to cancel orders or end up with far more leftovers on their hands than anticipated.

And many others may find themselves unable to hand over presents they did not post, after banking on seeing their loved ones face to face.

The deadline for second-class Christmas mail has already passed and people have only until Monday to post items first class in time, with delays in deliveries already predicted due to increased demand.

10:47AM

Government responds following ‘overwhelmed’ Test to Release launch

Following the stuttering start to the Government’s ‘Test to Release’ programme yesterday, the Department of Transport has spoken to Telegraph Travel.

A spokesperson said:

We have been working closely with the private sector to deliver Test to Release, which is a step in the right direction for passengers and industry.We have set high standards for any providers involved to ensure that we do not import Covid-19 into the UK at such a critical time. The list of approved providers is being constantly updated, with several larger businesses added today to help meet any backlog.

10:40AM

Scenes in Soho on the eve of Tier 3

Londoners hit the town last night for one last hurrah before Tier 3 restrictions came into force today.

London on eve of Tier 3


Credit:
GETTY

London on eve of Tier 3


Credit:
GETTY

London on eve of Tier 3


Credit:
GETTY

London on eve of Tier 3


Credit:
GETTY

10:28AM

Supreme Court rules Heathrow Airport third runway can go ahead

Heathrow Airport has won a Supreme Court challenge over the Government’s decision to give the go-ahead for a third runway.

Three leading judges concluded in February that former transport secretary Chris Grayling failed to take account of the Government’s commitments to tackling climate change when setting out support for the project in an Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS).

Heathrow Airport Ltd, which owns and operates the airport, challenged that ruling at a two-day hearing before a panel of five justices in October. Giving a summary of the Supreme Court’s ruling on this morning, Lord Sales said Mr Grayling’s decision was lawful and he was under “no obligation” to discuss the Paris Agreement separately in the ANPS.

A Heathrow spokesman said the result would “allow global Britain to become a reality”, adding:

Only by expanding the UK’s hub airport can we connect all of Britain to all of the growing markets of the world, helping to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in every nation and region of our country.

Demand for aviation will recover from Covid-19 and the additional capacity at an expanded Heathrow will allow Britain as a sovereign nation to compete for trade and win against our rivals in France and Germany.

Heathrow has already committed to net-zero and this ruling recognises the robust planning process that will require us to prove expansion is compliant with the UK’s climate change obligations, including the Paris Climate Agreement, before construction can begin.

The future of the runway is still uncertain. Construction will now have to go through the planning process, and will face new challenges on the grounds of environmental impact. Heathrow has said it is unlikely to happen before 2030, if at all, dependent on post-Covid demand. 

We have the full story here.

10:19AM

Beer and bloodshed on the trail of Thomas Becket

Hiding out from a furious Henry II, Thomas Becket sought refuge in Sens – and found much to enjoy there. Modern-day visitors will too, writes Anthony Peregrine.

It is well known that, as Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket was ascetic, wore a hair shirt crawling with lice and fell out so thunderously with Henry II that, in 1164, he fled for France. Then he returned to be murdered in his cathedral in 1170. That was 850 years ago on December 29. The British Museum was due to mark this anniversary now but has, perforce, pushed the exhibition back to next spring.

Less well-known is that Becket was big. I’d imagined him a scrawny fellow, whingeing about ecclesiastical independence, excommunicating opponents in fits of pique and nibbling occasionally on an endive. 

Then I saw his alb, the long white vestment preserved alongside other of his liturgical clothes, in the museum at Sens on the edge of
Burgundy. It’s enormous. The alb, I mean. For the 12th century, Becket was a giant: six feet tall, at least. Certainly, he would have looked down on Richard Burton who played him in the 1964 film,
Becket.

Read the full story here.

10:09AM

When will Australia welcome international travel?

International travel to and from Australia could restart on an “industrial scale” in the second half of 2021, according to the country’s prime minister.

Australia’s borders have been closed since March in an effort to quash the spread of Covid-19, with residents unable to leave unless they have an exemption. All state borders are now open, and New Zealanders have been allowed to enter.

But Scott Morrison warned it could be months until there are further restrictions.

Speaking on television this morning, he said:

We are not lifting the international borders and the moment and we have no immediate plans to do that. We’re taking this very cautiously. The reason we’ve done so well is we’ve been so careful around our borders.

I hope that we could see international travel resume well into next year but I’m not expecting it in the first quarter of next year and in the quarter after that a lot would have to change to see that happening on any sort of industrial scale.

9:54AM

Years until vaccine ‘widely available’ in some parts of the world

Some interesting insight shared by Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy, The PC Agency, regarding the mass availability of Covid-19 vaccines.

9:47AM

Positive Covid tests on board ferry

Stena Line is confirming that six members of crew on its Stena Edda vessel have tested positive for Covid-19, reports Greg Dickinson.

There are 322 passengers and 53 crew on board. The six crew members who tested positive are said to be showing mild symptoms, and 15 close contacts have been identified and are self-isolating.

The vessel is being held in Birkenhead as a precaution. More to follow.

9:42AM

 ‘Clear case’ for Greater Manchester to move to Tier 2 

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said there was a “clear case” for his region being moved down to Tier 2 as the Government is due to formally review what tiers are appropriate for each area.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Burnham also said he would understand if the Government wanted to “err on the side of caution”.

 We have seen steady decreases across all of our boroughs pretty much ever since the last tiering decision, to the point where we are now essentially below the England average across the 10 boroughs – we are at 150 cases on average per 100,000 people, England averages 180.

We are below London and below Liverpool when they went into Tier 2 originally.

9:33AM

‘There’s no legal justification for police stopping people escaping Tier 3’

Although guidance suggests that those in Tier 3 should restrict travel outside it, this has no legal force, writes barrister Francis Hoar.

A person living in ‘Tier 3’ cannot ‘gather’ indoors with more than one other person in a pub, even though those living in ‘Tier 1’ are permitted to gather with up to five other people outside their household in pubs.

This restriction is limited. It does not prevent a person in a higher tier from going into premises which must remain closed in his or her tier – for example to play squash, which is permitted in Tiers 1 and 2 but not in Tier 3, or to drink (but only with one other person) in a pub that – in an extraordinary act of permissiveness – is actually permitted to serve alcohol without food. Although guidance suggests that those in Tier 3 should restrict travel outside it, this has no legal force and there is no justification for police stopping cars leaving areas in Tier 3, which would appear to be harassment.

Nor, from a travel perspective, would it be reasonable for a hotel or self-catering business to refuse to take bookings from customers in higher tiers. It is important to note that – as with the regulations requiring face coverings in shops or on public transport – there is no duty on a business owner to enforce the requirements.

Here is Francis’ article.

9:29AM

Sadness, fear and boredom: What the rest of the world thinks about Brexit 

As talks over Brexit continue, our experts around the world shared how countries view the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Lee Marshall, reporting from Italy, says:

I’m scrolling down through the web edition of leading Italian paper Corriere della sera. Finally I come across a little story about the final throes of the Brexit negotations, tucked away in the recesses of the ‘Foreign’ section. This pretty much sums up how many Italians feel about the long-running soap opera: the mood is one of indifference, exacerbated by the fact that it all seems to be taking longer than the canonisation of Padre Pio. When the talk turned to Brexit recently, an Italian friend of mine asked “But have you not gone yet?” He wasn’t being sarcastic – he was genuinely surprised. It’s another matter, of course, for all the Italians who currently live and work in the UK. They’re genuinely worried, as, despite repeated assurances, nobody really knows what’s going to happen.

Read the full story here.

9:22AM

Germany enters new national lockdown

Germans have begun a new period of lockdown from today, with schools and non-essential shops closed across the country.

Under the new restrictions, people are required to work from home where possible and private gatherings are limited to no more than five people from two households. Rules in some states are even stricter, with overnight curfews and a ban on leaving home for anything other than essential reasons.

There will be a slight easing over Christmas, with an additional four family members allowed to meet in groups.

But New Year’s Eve celebrations will look different, with no gatherings allowed in the streets and a ban on the sale of fireworks.

9:07AM

Christmas plan to go ahead – with self-isolation warning

Planning for Christmas – and whether your existing plans will fall through – has been a concern over the last 24 hours. 

However, Boris Johnson is determined to push ahead with plans to allow families to meet this Christmas, but will urge people to self-isolate before joining up with other households, The Telegraph understands.

The Government is expected to issue stronger guidance about what people can do over the festive period in the coming days, but stop short of changing the rules which say three households can meet for five days from December 23 to 27.

It is understood that No 10 was concerned that if Christmas plans were cancelled, it could lead to lower compliance with the rules in January and later in the winter. For months, ministers have promised a relaxation over Christmas if the public followed waves of new rules including a lockdown and the introduction of tiers.

8:46AM

What happened yesterday?

Good morning. Here’s a reminder of the main stories from Tuesday.

  • Quarantine cut to as little as five days – if you take a test
  • Singapore to open for business travellers with ‘bubble’ facility
  • Tier 3 residents asked to cancel self-catering holidays
  • Test to Release providers struggle to keep up with demand

Follow us here for the latest travel news throughout the day.

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