The Road Haulage Association is dismayed at the news that a new migrant camp is to be built at the Dunkirk ferry port, approximately 30 miles from the Port of Calais.
“This will not solve the problem of migrants causing yet more misery for the thousands of UK-bound hauliers who regularly use this alternative route to cross the Channel”, said RHA chief executive Richard Burnett. “The issue must be resolved, not doubled.
“Britain has committed £19 million in funding for fences, CCTV and other security measures at Calais since the crisis erupted in June and has already invested £7 million in a secure HGV parking area and additional fencing at the Port. We now learn that the French government will apparently be picking up the £1.1 million bill for the new camp. As experience has clearly shown, this will barely scratch the surface of the problem.
“Migrants at Calais already outnumber security officials by 18:1. Our greatest concern is that the number of staff will be reduced and redeployed at Dunkirk. The inevitable outcome of this will be that what is already a bad situation will get much, much worse. It is unthinkable that lives, already at risk, are lost.”
The RHA will continue to push for deployment of the French military at Calais and will be requesting a meeting with the Mayor of Calais, Madame Natacha Bouchart. Madame Bouchart has also voiced her concerns for the citizens of Calais who have been placed in an untenable situation.
“This is now a critical situation which cannot be allowed to continue”, continued Richard Burnett. “The lives and livelihoods for hauliers and for thousands of Calaisians are now being put at severe risk. Pressure must be brought to bear on the French government to act.”
Concluding, he said: “The situation at Calais will not disappear any time soon and that is where the focus must remain. It must be addressed and resolved it as effectively and quickly as possible. Duplicating the problem to another port 30 miles away is not the answer”.