The Freight Transport Association has given evidence to the Home Affairs Committee at the House of Commons about the migrant situation in Calais following a Government announcement of a new secure lorry parking zone at the port.
Home Secretary Theresa May MP told the House that the new area would allow 230 trucks – equivalent to a two-and-a-half mile queue – to wait in a protected area away from the hordes of migrants.
After the announcement, FTA Deputy Chief Executive James Hookham reported to the Home Affairs Committee on the experiences of the Association’s members who have encountered intimidation, threats of violence, damage to vehicles and spoiled cargoes while waiting at the port to cross the Channel.
James Hookham said: “FTA is delighted at today’s announcement of a new secure parking zone in Calais to protect drivers from the gangs of migrants who have been threatening UK drivers. This will allow them to queue and get out of their cabs without fear of intimidation.
“At long last something is being done in order to protect drivers, but we still need the French to step up their policing of the area and address the issue of the migrants camped out in Calais.”
Last week a strike by ferry workers brought the port to a standstill, with thousands of trucks queuing amongst gangs of migrants who relentlessly tried to access their vehicles. Dozens of stowaways were removed from lorries by border staff when services resumed on the ferries and Eurotunnel. Another died when he tried to board a moving train inside the tunnel, and three more were injured by a train earlier today.
James Hookham said: “Calais is a vital trade gateway, with £89 billion passing through the port every year. We cannot allow the migrants to put this in jeopardy – already millions of pounds have been lost in delays, damage to vehicles and spoiled cargoes.”
The Home Affairs Committee also heard evidence from others including Alan Pughsley, the Chief Constable of Kent, and the Minister for Immigration James Brokenshire MP.