End Calais chaos to protect Scottish seafood exports

By Alice Foster contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Scottish government has pressed the UK government and French authorities to resolve the crisis
The Scottish government has pressed the UK government and French authorities to resolve the crisis

Related tags: Channel tunnel, United kingdom

The UK government and French authorities must do more to resolve the transport chaos around Calais, says the Scottish government after holding a crisis meeting yesterday to probe the impact on Scotland’s seafood exports.

More than 3,500 migrants have tried to storm the Eurotunnel freight terminal this week and thousands of trucks been left stranded in traffic on the M20.

Deputy first minister John Swinney said the Scottish food sector has been particularly “hard hit” ​and the Scottish Seafood Association (SSA) has warned that struggling firms​ could close.

​Businesses cannot continue to lose money’

“Concerns have been raised with us, particularly by the fish processing sector, and the Scottish government has mobilised our resilience team to monitor the situation, investigate what practical steps can be taken to support those affected and, of course, resolve the situation for Scottish producers,” ​Swinney said.

Swinney called for immediate action to get vehicles and exports “moving again”​ as well as the development of a long-term strategy to deal with the humanitarian issues around the migrant crisis in Calais.

“Scottish businesses cannot continue to lose money and orders and we have already asked the UK government to prioritise exports of perishable fresh produce and I once again call on them to deliver a system which does just that – the Scottish government stands ready to help in any way that we can,”​ he said.

​Impact on Scottish economy

Fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead was scheduled to meet fishing industry leaders today as part of ongoing talks over what can been done to limit the impact on the Scottish economy.

Business impact

“Scottish businesses cannot continue to lose money and orders and we have already asked the UK government to prioritise exports of perishable fresh produce ...”

  • John Swinney, deputy first minister 

“Scottish seafood is the UK’s biggest food export, a quality product that is in demand in markets around the world, with many of our producers exporting to the continent and beyond,” ​Lochhead said.

“The impact the delays at the Channel Tunnel continue to have on their businesses with orders being cancelled and produce being affected is very concerning.”

French authorities have deployed an extra 120 police to Calais and the UK government has pledged to invest £7M in fences and security measures.

Meanwhile, prime minister David Cameron has unleashed a storm of protest after referring to migrants as a “swarm”​ of people.

“This is very testing, I accept that, because you have got a swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean, seeking a better life, wanting to come to Britain because Britain has got jobs, it​s got a growing economy, and it​s an incredible place to live,”​ Cameron told ITV.

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