RHA is welcoming news of Calais camp flattening, but cautions many migrants will still try to cross English Channel

RHA is welcoming news of Calais camp flattening, but cautions many migrants will still try to cross English Channel

Britain's Road Haulage Association (RHA) is warning today's (24 October) bulldozing of the infamous 'jungle' migrant camp in Calais, is "by far the end of the problem" as worries surface the problem will simply reoccur.

Around 8,000 refugees – some estimates have put the number far higher – are currently being processed by authorities for dispersement around France with the RHA expressing concerns the camp being flattened will trigger yet more threats of attacks.

Lorry drivers have borne much of the brunt of unrest from migrants desperate to reach the UK using trucks to travel across the English Channel either via ferries or the Le Shuttle train services, with the RHA consistently campaigning for far heavier security, including an appeal for the French military to become involved.

"Of course we welcome the news the camp is to be removed; this is something for which we have been tirelessly lobbying for many months," said RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett. "However, it would be naïve to think this will be an overnight success story. It is by far the end of the problem.

"Removing the camp is essentially a short term fix. It is crucial we see an effective plan for a long term solution. Over 6,000 migrants are now being sent to resettlement camps throughout France. However, we are extremely concerned about the thousands of migrants that remain in Calais and the surrounding area – all still intent on reaching the UK at whatever cost."

The Calais situation has been fuelled for a considerable time by massive political turbulence in the Middle East with refugees displaced by war in Syria, but also swelled by some economic migrants looking for better conditions in the West.

Fears have also been raised that despite the razing of the Calais camp, migrants will just return from resettlement areas around France to the northern port in a bid to make for the UK, although for now the RHA is concerned about the immediate safety of its drivers, despite the building of a UK-funded wall to fend off stowaways.

"We want confirmation of how many security personnel are being deployed at Calais," added Burnett. "The area is already turning into a war zone.  Not only are HGV drivers facing an increase in threats and attacks as migrants become ever more desperate to reach the UK, they now face yet another danger, driving through thick clouds of tear gas. 

"Maximum security at the port and its approach roads must be assured to protect the lives of UK-bound HGV drivers.

"You can put a price on a half-mile long, 13ft high, brick wall built to help contain the problem but putting a price on a life of someone who just wants to do their job in safety cannot even be contemplated."

Britain paid for and built the 1km wall on the Rocade Port of Calais approach road following major damage to the existing fence, which the UK Freight Transport Association said was costing GBP80,000 (US$98,000) per week to repair. 

Migrants have been given a maximum of 72 hours to leave the camp in Calais.

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