Despite the news of clashes between riot police and migrants as demolition teams dismantle the migrant camp at Calais, the Road Haulage Association remains fully supportive of the pledge made by Xavier Bertrand, President of France’s Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, to clear the Port’s ‘Jungle’.
Commenting on the clearance action, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett (RHARichardB) said: “It is essential that the number of migrants in the camp is reduced as quickly as possible. This will reduce the number of migrants and thereby reduce the number of attacks on HGV drivers. It will also make it easier for the French security forces to contain the situation. Of course, it is absolutely essential that any children and other vulnerable people currently living in the camp are given clean, safe accommodation and access to facilities that are currently unavailable to them. For the citizens of Calais, families will be able to walk the streets without fear of intimidation. And the Calais economy itself will once again benefit as businesses that have suffered as a result of the deterrent effect, return to normal.
“The cost to both the UK and French economy as a whole since the Calais crisis began has been massive. In particular, the financial losses suffered by UK-bound hauliers on a daily basis as a result of migrants climbing on-board trucks and damaging loads has cost transport operators and their customers millions of pounds. In addition, the emotional, and often physical cost to HGV drivers has been considerable. We regularly hear of drivers who quite simply refuse to travel through this critical freight route because they no longer want to put their lives at risk. And why should they?”