BRITTANY Ferries says Transport Secretary Grant Shapps' advice to not book summer holidays was "disproportionate".

Mr Shapps told Radio 4's Today programme that it is "too soon" for travellers to start booking holidays.

He said: "People shouldn't be booking holidays right now, not domestically or internationally."

However, transport and holiday company Brittany Ferries says listeners may have been discouraged from any summer holiday plans – and that dissuading people to book summer holidays in mid-February "seems unnecessary" and "over cautious."

A spokesman for Brittany Ferries said: "Vaccine roll-out is moving apace in the UK, thanks to the NHS, volunteers and support of the armed forces. "And while countries which Brittany Ferries serves like France are a little behind, the ramp-up is gaining significant momentum there too.

"French health minister Olivier Véran confirmed that four million people would be vaccinated by the end of February, rising to 43 million by the end of June.

"That means around 80 per cent of the French adult population should be vaccinated well ahead of the summer holiday season. In the UK meanwhile, all over-50s are due to receive the vaccine by the end of May."

Brittany Ferries, which runs the Poole to Cherbourg service, says it acknowledges the Covid crisis is fluid and circumstances may change.

But the spokesman said: "The vaccine rollout programme should be an opportunity to present hope and optimism for a brighter summer ahead.

"Furthermore, companies like Brittany Ferries offer flexible booking options with the promise of options like refunds and easy schedule changes if government advice were to change."

The ferry company has also called for the government to set out a clear strategy towards safer travel this summer, which could include measures such as safe travel corridors, testing and, potentially, vaccine passports.

Mr Shapps said the Prime Minister would be speaking more about the route to unlocking the country on February 22.