The UK immigration minister has confirmed a wall will be built along the Calais port’s main dual-carriageway approach road, which passes adjacent to the Calais Jungle refugee camp.
Construction of the wall is part of a £17 million Anglo-French security package, which includes safe spaces for trucks to wait at the port. The security measures are a result of the impact of the Calais Jungle camp on motorway safety, which also led French unionists, haulers and farmers to hold a protest on the main freight and passenger route in Calais on Monday.
Extreme measures taken by smugglers and traffickers to reach the UK, including causing serious accidents in order to then create road blocks and board stationary trucks, have left the freighting industry with serious safety concerns. The financial significance of the freight route, as reported by the IISA Refugee Report in March 2016, is a major factor in the pursuit of the current Anglo-French security measures.
Though current structures, such as high wire fences, are already in place, the Immigration Minister stated: “People are still getting through. We have done the fences. Now we are doing the wall”.
French authorities agreed to protesters’ demands for the demolition of the refugee camp to be accelerated, with increased police presence in the area also being promised. Police presence has been noted previously in the Jungle in July 2016, with raids on shops in the camp which were determined to be illegal and “unfair competition” to legal shops outside of the camp. Similarly to previous decisions made to partially demolish the camp, humanitarian organisations and volunteer groups in the region and across Europe have shown opposition to the security measures, stating that the true solution to the problem lies in tackling criminal groups carrying out trafficking.
The French Auberge des Migrants group operating in Calais stated the walls would be ineffective at securing the roads:
The Road Haulage Association also deemed the current strategy to be insufficient, calling for the structures to be built in different areas; a spokesman stating: “It is imperative that the money to pay for a wall would be much better spent on increasing security along approach roads”.
An online petition has also been started against the security measures, with protests also announced for this evening. The petition on the 38degrees site states: