The announcement by President François Hollande to close the Jungle camp in Calais and move the migrants to reception centres across France reflects a long-standing appeal by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) to do just that.
The FTA has been saying that the only way to combat the crisis in Calais was to move the migrant Jungle camp away from the area and introduce a proper process to ascertain genuine asylum seekers.
On a visit to Calais this morning, Hollande set out his plans to close the camp and move 10,000 migrants to reception centres across France, saying that they would be given up to four months to seek asylum.
Hollande will attend the ‘Laying of the First Stone’ at Port Boulogne Calais, where plans to build a new dock and security area are to be revealed. The French President said: “The Jungle migrant camp will be completely, definitively dismantled.”
FTA has been calling on the French government to act quickly on its commitment to dismantle the Calais migrant camp situated adjacent to the A16 – the main road approaching the port area, and was pleased to hear the President’s comments.
David Wells, FTA’s Chief Executive, was also at the Port Boulogne Calais event when he welcomed the plans outlined by Hollande: “The President has taken precisely the steps that FTA has been calling for since the start of the crisis in Calais.
“Prevention has to be better than cure – we are convinced that the decisive action to completely close the Jungle camp, register the migrants for asylum and strengthen the security for truck drivers is the best route forward.”
Calais plays a vital role for freight with around £89 billion worth of UK trade passing through the port every year. In the past two years, cross- Channel ferry freight traffic between Dover and Calais has increased by 20% and is expected to rise a further 40% by 2030.
At its event today the Port revealed plans to increase security for HGV drivers including a secure waiting and parking area for more than 800 trucks, changes to infrastructure ensuring better accessibility, and improved movement of traffic making it safer and faster for drivers entering the area.
Security around the Nord-Par de Calais has been a major concern for FTA on behalf of its members and their drivers who are continuously subject to violent attacks by migrants attempting to board trucks to get to the UK.
Wells added: “Increased capacity and security is vital in this area. Strengthened security by creating a new secure zone in the port will remove the threat to truck drivers once and for all rather than just tackle the symptoms.
“With the threat of attack on truck drivers removed we expect the juxtaposed controls to remain in place that speed cross-Channel traffic, which will benefit both Britain and France.”