As talks between Home Secretary Amber Rudd and her French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve get underway in Paris, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has re-stated its concern that UK border controls should remain in Calais.
Under the Le Touquet agreement established in 2003, Britain can carry out checks in Calais to stop migrants trying to get to Britain, while French counterparts can do the same in Dover. The arrangement is mutually beneficial and FTA says any change would cause chaos.
FTA Deputy Chief Executive James Hookham said: “Sending the UK border controls back to Kent would create chaos for cross-Channel freight traffic. The layouts of both the Port of Dover and the Folkestone Channel Tunnel terminal would need to be completely redesigned and the number of sailings and shuttles would be limited to the rate at which passport and immigration checks could be completed upon arrival.
“This would be bad news for Britain and France. FTA supports the continued co-operative working of the British and French governments over these issues and urges that the safety and security of port and tunnel users, especially truck drivers be prioritised.”
Some French political leaders have called for the border to be moved back to the UK, or for migrants to be allowed to make UK asylum claims while in France. FTA says the Jungle Camp – where numbers have swelled to more than 9,000 – should be moved away from the port to prevent the ongoing attacks on truck drivers. FTA is also calling for proper processing procedures to be put in place to ensure that genuine asylum seekers quickly receive the help they need.