Migrant crisis in Calais 'spiralling out of control'

20 November 2015

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) is demanding more action to protect drivers from acts of violence in Calais.

The trade association for road transport and freight logistics operators issued the caution after being contacted by a member who claimed two of his drivers had been attacked by migrants despite increased security on the ground at the Port of Calais.

RHA member Toby Ovens, director of Broughton Transport Solutions, described the situation in Calais as "dire". In a letter to the RHA he wrote: “I had two drivers attacked by missiles thrown by immigrants at my vehicles and damage done to the vehicle. One of the drivers was female and they attempted to open the doors to her vehicle and when they didn’t succeed they attacked the vehicle leaving her very shaken.”

Ovens slammed the situation as "completely unacceptable". “We as hauliers need someone we can go to, in order to sort this situation," he said.

"I am on the verge of pulling out of European haulage. My family have been operating abroad for the last thirty plus years but now I feel the time has come where I cannot continue to put my drivers at risk. I have no doubt that soon someone will get killed.”

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett insisted the situation had become "absolutely untenable". “This is just one of many examples we have received of a situation that is spiralling out of control," he said.

"During the summer I visited Calais several times to see for myself the mayhem caused by migrants and it became clear that the situation changes on an almost hourly basis. We therefore took the decision to send a member of our own staff over to Calais to monitor the situation first hand.

“As we predicted several months ago, it is the port approach roads that need increased security. Our observer spoke to drivers who have witnessed migrants standing on port approach road bridges, throwing rocks onto truck windscreens, forcing them to stop. This situation must be resolved now – waiting until someone gets killed is simply not an option.”

The Home Office said more French police had been deployed in the region and the French government had introduced measures to encourage migrants not to travel to Calais.

Immigration minister James Brokenshire said: "We continue to work closely with the French authorities at both political and operational levels on a package of measures, which bolsters security and facilitates the movement of traffic.

"The UK government has contributed tens of millions of pounds towards this package, which includes physical and personnel security, much of which has already been delivered. By the end of November, Border Force will have doubled its contracted freight searching and sniffer dog capacity at the juxtaposed ports."

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