Hauliers critical of piecemeal approach to Calais
By Kyle Lindsay
Monday, August 3, 2015 - 12:00
The Road Haulage Association has strongly criticised the continuing piecemeal approach by the UK government to the Calais crisis. This follows the announcement of further limited measures to strengthen the security at Eurotunnel. These will fall far short of what is needed to address the problems facing the haulage industry and the broader UK economy. We are asking for clear commitment to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure the free movement of lorries through the Calais area.
RHA CEO Richard Burnett said: “I fear that the current situation in Calais and the surrounding area is about to become a disaster. This problem requires a strategic security solution. But what we’ve had is a series of small steps. Each welcome as far as they go, but they simply don’t add up to what is required. It feels like the government is scrambling to catch up with this issue. Boosting security at Eurotunnel in isolation will only divert migrant attention onto trucks on the approach roads waiting to board. Only the deployment of large numbers of security-trained personnel to segregate freight drivers from the migrants will allow for the free passage of goods and ensure the safety of our drivers. We’ve said all along that this can only be achieved through the deployment of the French military in sufficient numbers to protect the trucks and escort them into the port and/or Eurotunnel.”
The Road Haulage Association is also writing to the Prime Minister requesting an urgent meeting with him and his team of ministers working on this crisis.
Chief Executive Richard Burnett added: “Until the PM or one of his senior Cabinet Ministers has actually experienced the live situation in Calais as I did a few weeks ago they will not appreciate the scale of problem.
“For every 10,000 lorries stranded for day on either side of the channel, the direct cost to the haulage industry is £5M as well as a multitude of other associated costs to our industry and the wider economy. But let’s not forget the human cost in stress, delay and frustration to our hard working drivers and to the hundreds of thousands of holiday makers who are having their much deserved break ruined. I’m urging everyone that cares about this issue to sign up to our mass petition for action at www.rhaactnow.uk.net.
“I’m visiting Calais on Monday and Tuesday and will be pleased to show any Cabinet minister or the PM how bad the situation is for British truck drivers just trying to do a honest day’s work”