RHA ‘astonished’ by Calais investments

The government’s decision to invest £44.5m to improve security measures in Calais has been roundly criticised by the Road Haulage Association, which says more money won’t solve the problem or provide greater security for HGV drivers.

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said, ‘We estimate that over £100m has already been spent on improving security at the port. Today we learn that another substantial sum is to be sent across the Channel to improve security fencing, CCTV and detection technology.

‘So why is more investment needed? We already have it on very good authority that the heartbeat monitors installed at the border are not being used. Government should be pressing the French authorities to ensure that the security equipment already in place is being used before the British taxpayer is asked to fork out for more.

‘And who can forget the ‘Great Wall of Calais’? Another security ‘white elephant’ paid for by UK taxpayer, that quickly proved itself to be a resounding failure. Despite the millions being invested, the lives of the thousands of HGV drivers that travel through Calais every day on outward and inward journeys are still being put at risk and their protection is our prime concern.

‘The whole situation of security at Calais is turning into a money pit. We need transparency as to where UK money is being spent. We need to see the plan for tackling the situation and that includes a proper processing system in northern France to deal with migrants making asylum applications.

‘Simply throwing more money at the problem won’t make it go away,’ Richard Burnett concluded. ‘Money alone isn’t going to solve this crisis. It requires the political will and leadership from the two governments to work together to restore the rule of law to these crucial international trade routes.’