Calais update: Further security measures as crisis escalates

Following on from a night where more than 1,500 migrants attempted to enter the Eurotunnel terminal in Coquelles, and the accidental death of a Sudanese man, the French government has announced that 120 extra police officers will be drafted in to help address the escalating situation.

UK Home Secretary Theresa May has confirmed that some migrants had succeeded in getting to Britain via the Channel Tunnel but did not give specific numbers.  She also outlined that the government is working closely with its French counterparts.

In a statement, Eurotunnel Group deplored the death of the migrant, while confirming that it had ‘discretely intercepted’, using its own resources, more than 37,000 migrants since the beginning of the year.  It also agreed to further investment for extra security following a meeting with French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

Ahead of the announcement regarding the additional police numbers, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) again called for the deployment of French military to make the Port of Calais secure.

RHA’s chief executive, Richard Burnett, said: “For the thousands of British drivers whose lives are now being put at risk on a regular basis, a quick and effective solution to the current situation must be found.  The news that yet another life has been lost in such tragic circumstances underlines the desperation of the Calais migrants.

“It has become clear that the French authorities in Calais simply cannot cope.  This has become an untenable situation and is obviously now beyond the capabilities of the French police.  The RHA strongly repeats its request, made in June, for deployment of the French military to contain, segregate and control the migrant threat.  We would also ask that the UK government provides additional support if requested to do so by the French.

“Lives of migrants and HGV drivers are being put at risk.  The government has a duty of care to all British citizens – let that care be shown to the UK hauliers who ask no more than to be able to perform their job of moving the UK economy safely and securely.”

With Operation Stack continuing, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has labelled Highways England rejection of a contraflow on the M20 as extremely frustrating.  The short-term proposal was suggested by the FTA during a recent Operation Stack Summit hosted by Kent County Council.

Natalie Chapman, FTA Head of Policy South East England commented: “FTA is hugely frustrated by the rejection of the suggestion of a contraflow being introduced on the M20.  This would be preferable to the current situation when Operation Stack is implemented on the motorway which has a devastating impact on local businesses and communities.

“We understand that Highways England have looked at the contraflow option and are concerned at the risk to safety in introducing this, but the fact remains that we still need a safe and workable solution.”

It is estimated that 3,600 lorries are currently queuing on the M20.