FTA shares members’ Calais experiences with Home Affairs Committee

The Home Secretary’s announcement of plans for a protected lorry parking zone in the port of Calais has been welcomed by the Freight Transport Association. FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham says the association is “delighted” with the announcement of a zone to protect drivers from “gangs of migrants” who have allegedly threatened and intimidated them.

Following Theresa May’s outlining of details for a ‘secure zone’ in the House of Commons yesterday, the FTA deputy chief executive related the experience of association members to the Home Affairs Committee, sharing that drivers have encountered intimidation, threats of violence, damage to vehicles and spoiled cargoes while waiting at the port to cross the Channel.

“FTA is delighted at today’s announcement of a new secure parking zone in Calais to protect drivers from the gangs of migrants who have been threatening UK drivers,” commented Hookham. “This will allow them to queue and get out of their cabs without fear of intimidation…At long last something is being done in order to protect drivers, but we still need the French to step up their policing of the area and address the issue of the migrants camped out in Calais.”

Last week a strike by ferry workers brought the port to a standstill and resulted in long queues of trucks – a tempting quarry for the would-be migrants. The FTA notes that dozens of stowaways were removed from vehicles by border staff when services resumed on the ferries and Eurotunnel. Another died when he tried to board a moving train inside the tunnel, and three more were injured by a train earlier yesterday.

“Calais is a vital trade gateway, with £89 billion passing through the port every year,” said Hookham. “We cannot allow the migrants to put this in jeopardy – already millions of pounds have been lost in delays, damage to vehicles and spoiled cargoes.”

The Home Affairs Committee also heard evidence from others, including Alan Pughsley, the Chief Constable of Kent, and Minister for Immigration James Brokenshire MP.

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