Twitter poll supports FTA call for Calais camp to be relocated

An online poll has overwhelmingly reiterated the Freight Transport Association’s call for the Calais migrant camp to be moved further from the port to avoid attacks on truck drivers as they queue to cross the Channel.

During the festive period the FTA asked its followers (@newsfromFTA) if they thought the ‘Jungle Camp’ should be relocated – 96 per cent of the respondents voted yes, with some making comments such as “yes, why do we accept the camp as reasonable?” and “yes, about 500 miles should do it.”

The size of the camp has swelled from 600 to 6,000 migrants in 12 months and, alarmingly, the number of drivers being fined for carrying stowaways has more than tripled in three years.

Drivers can be personally fined up to £2,000 for each illegal immigrant found on board and FTA members say it’s impossible to prevent their trucks being attacked because of the huge numbers of migrants and the personal safety issues involved.

A new migrant camp is now being proposed in Dunkerque, which the local mayor says will provide more humane and dignified living conditions than the current facility at Calais.

But Natalie Chapman, FTA’s Head of Policy for London and the South East, said: “Planning a new camp near another port is madness – this is a critical trade route where our members will continue to be affected.

“There is undoubtedly a humanitarian crisis here and genuine refugees should be treated with respect and have their cases properly processed.  However, the Calais camp is far too close to the road and the port, putting our members’ livelihoods – and indeed their lives – at risk.

“This is Western Europe in the 21st Century – it’s unthinkable that we can’t come up with a solution to this problem instead of allowing thousands of migrants and refugees to live in squalid conditions while international transport operations are put in jeopardy.”

The FTA understands the planned new camp is to be situated 30 miles from Calais and funded by the French government.  The Association has been calling on the French government to move the camp since 2013 when problems first started to escalate.