Calais wall is simply ‘a sticking plaster’: FTA

By Matt Atherton contact

- Last updated on GMT

A new wall is planned in Calais to extend existing security measures
A new wall is planned in Calais to extend existing security measures

Related tags: Truck, Fta

The controversial construction of a 4m-high wall in Calais – planned to help resolve transport chaos at the port, caused partly by illegal migrants – is “simply a sticking plaster” that will not solve the problem of violence at the Jungle migrant camp, says the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

Work is due to begin this month on the 1km-long wall in Calais, the UK’s immigration minister Robert Goodwill confirmed yesterday (September 7). The wall was planned to help French authorities minimise the number of migrants attempting to gain access to the UK. The wall – reportedly expected to cost £1.9M – would be built along both sides of the main dual-carriageway leading to the ferry port.

However, the FTA – whose membership includes food and drink hauliers – said the proposed wall wouldn’t stop migrants from accessing the highway. It called for the French authorities to remove the migrant camp, following outbreaks of violence between lorry drivers and migrants.

‘It’s simply a sticking plaster’                        

FTA’s Julie Maddocks said: “While it’s true the wall will add an extra layer of security, it’s simply a sticking plaster, and the migrants will find a way over or around it.

“The Jungle camp has to go now rather than later. But we have been promised this before, so we do not have confidence that the French authorities will deliver.”

The Calais wall was announced just days after a roadblock​ along the dual-carriageway was organised by local French transport operators, local businesses and agricultural workers urging the closure of the migrant camp.

Migrants had reportedly attempted to hide in lorries before crossing into the UK. The FTA said the migrants had become more determined following the UK’s Brexit vote, leading to increased violence.

Threatened with a chainsaw

A truck driver was threatened with a chainsaw​ during a night of violence on July 29. During the same night, a lorry carrying fruit and vegetables was set on fire.

Maddocks said: “This situation is not going to go away until such time as proper processes are in place to determine who these people are, and where they will go.”

Meanwhile, the FTA issued a five-point plan​ to remedy the chaos in Calais, in May. The organisation said disruptions caused by protesters should not be allowed to happen again.

FTA’s five-point plan to avoid Calais transport chaos

  • Move migrant camp away from the motorway and Eurotunnel facility to deter migrants from attempting to board commercial vehicles and trains
  • Secure the Port of Calais and Eurotunnel facility against incursion by migrants and to complete the secure parking zone in the port area for use by operators
  • Highlight to the British and French governments the need to maintain the juxtaposed border controls and invest in police and security arrangements to guarantee that drivers’ rights to safe passage through the port are respected
  • Support registration of migrants and processing of asylum claims by the French authorities to legitimise and control those camped out around Calais
  • Declare the port of Calais and Eurotunnel facility as off-limits to any industrial protests

Related topics: Supply Chain

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