The Freight Transport Association has expressed astonishment that French authorities in Calais have banned the use of electronic scanning equipment designed to detect the presence of illegal immigrants in lorries bound for the UK. The units are reported to have been banned because the French claim that use of the equipment breaches EU regulations.
FTA Director of External Affairs, Geoff Dossetter said, 'Use of scanners at Calais, combined with the closure of the Sangatte hostel, has contributed to a fall in the number of illegal immigrants getting to the UK.
'Lorry drivers support the use of scanning equipment, which adds to the actions they themselves take to defend their vehicles and loads from penetration by illegal immigrants, and from the criminals who facilitate them.
'The gathering of illegal immigrants seeking to reach the UK from Calais and elsewhere in northern France continues to be a major problem for British and all other lorry drivers crossing the Channel. Those drivers look for support from both the UK and French governments in doing all they can to provide security for lorry drivers and their vehicles in order to prevent the carriage of illegal immigrants into the UK. This latest action by the French will clearly not help that process.'
FTA is in touch with the Home Office regarding this issue, seeking clarification of both the current situation and future prospects.
The Freight Transport Association represents the transport interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air. FTA members operate over 220,000 goods vehicles – almost half the UK fleet – including large numbers of international operators. FTA's website can be found at www.fta.co.uk