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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Hauliers advised not to stop within 200km of Calais

Dec 09, 2014
The UK Road Haulage Association (RHA) is advising lorry drivers not to stop as they approach Calais to offset the risk of illegal immigrants stowing away in vehicles. Many haulage firms are now recommending that their drivers do not pull over, even for a few minutes, within 125 miles (200 kilometres) of the French Channel port.

Last month, the RHA’s Head of International Affairs, Peter Cullum, went before a House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee to explain that this was the advice the trade body was giving its members.

Cullum reported, “Sometimes it is not practical for drivers to do this as they may have to pick up goods near Calais, for example, but where it is possible we consider it to be good practice. And feedback suggests that our members are taking this advice.”

He revealed that cases of RHA member hauliers being fined as a result of illegal immigrants gaining access to vehicles had probably fallen to 2-3 annually compared with 2-3 per month 10 years ago.

He said improving traffic flows in the approaches to the Port of Calais and in particular, the two-kilometre stretch from the A16 motorway exit to the cross-Channel ferry terminal, was crucial as it would go a long way to ensuring that trucks weren’t obliged to slow down, thus minimising the opportunity for illegal immigrants to board.

Cullum added, “Stepping up police patrols in this area is also very important and the French authorities recently increased the gendarmerie contingent in and around the port. While you can’t always be 100% successful, these measures, together with better security provision such as fencing and enhanced driver vigilance means you have a good chance of containing the problem. But we cannot afford to relax. Heathrow doesn’t and neither should Calais or any other port.”

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