Haulage bodies give Calais evidence to MPs

Haulage sector bodies have given evidence to MPs on how the Calais migrant crisis is affecting member firms and their employees and costing the industry millions of pounds.

Representatives of the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and Freight Transport Association (FTA) highlighted the challenges facing drivers when they appeared before the Home Affairs Committee on 14 July.

The FTA’s deputy chief executive James Hookham told the committee that its members had suffered intimidation and threats of violence while waiting at the port to cross the Channel. He said: “Already millions of pounds have been lost in delays, damage to vehicles and spoiled cargoes.”

The RHA said it would be keeping the pressure on UK and French decision-makers in the UK for action to improve security at Calais so that UK hauliers were protected.

In the same week as the committee took evidence, the Daily Mail reported that trucker Peter Clark has been battling to reverse a £2,000 fine, imposed after he had asked officials to check his open-sided trailer at Calais because he knew it was at risk of attracting stowaways.

After initially asking French police to search the vehicle before he boarded a ferry, he then approached UK Border Force officials, who found five migrants hiding in the large cement mixer he was transporting.

They were released but Mr Clark, who works for Northampton-based E M Rogers, was fined £2,000. The paper reported that since the incident last September, all his attempts to reverse the fine have failed.

At Palmers, our team is experienced in working with haulage sector clients and offers specialist advice and representation in road traffic offences.

We can also assist drivers, employers or vehicle owners – all of whom may be subject to a UK Border Agency fine of up to £2,000 for each person found hiding in or on a vehicle to avoid UK border control – in objecting to penalties or appealing against them at the Magistrates’ Court. For more information, please contact Jeremy Sirrell.