RHA urges prime minister to visit Calais

Published: 04 August 2015

RHA urges prime minister to visit Calais

The Prime Minister has been requested to visit Calais and see the migrant crisis for himself.

Additional security guards were stationed at the French port overnight as Phillip Hammond, Foreign Secretary, declared the UK has now got a grip on the situation.

The RHA have said that unless the Prime Minister, who is currently enjoying a holiday, sees the mayhem for himself then he would not understand the severity of the situation and the impact it is having.

The Foreign Secretary, who chaired an emergency Cobra meeting yesterday, said he would not be drawn into speaking about the Prime Minister’s absence or whether his holiday would need to be cut short.

Thousands of migrants have attempted to get in to the UK by crossing the Channel this summer which has lead to major disruption for lorry drivers and the road haulage industry as a whole.

Do the government have a grip on the situation in Calais?
Chief Executive of the RHA, Richard Burnett has urged David Cameron to ‘’see for himself the appalling conditions drivers are facing’’.

Burnett, who is currently visiting Calais, warned that the crisis in Calais could become a disaster.
‘’Without witnessing the mayhem at Calais first-hand, neither the Prime Minister nor his advisers can fully grasp the severity of the situation.

I have therefore issued an invitation to David Cameron to travel with him across the Channel to see for himself the appalling conditions that drivers are facing.’’

“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.’’

The RHA, who has strongly criticised the government’s handling of the Calais crisis, argues that concentrating the security efforts at the Eurotunnel will only divert migrant attention onto the trucks queuing on the approach to the port.

“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.”

Shadow justice secretary Lord Falconer has agreed to visit Calais to discuss the situation with Eurotunnel officials and the RHA.

"No UK Government minister has visited the Eurotunnel to see first-hand the problems faced by the rail operator because of the failure to get to grips with migrants in northern France," a Labour spokesperson said.

The foreign secretary insisted that co-operation with the French authorities and Eurotunnel had improved, and measures employed were "already having an effect".
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