Asylum Seekers

Home Department written question – answered on 18th April 2002.

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Photo of Mr Bill Tynan Mr Bill Tynan Labour, Hamilton South

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the effect of access to the Channel Tunnel by asylum seekers on the French side on British exports and imports using this route as a form of transportation; what the implications are of this situation on the future of British businesses using the Channel link; and what measures are being taken in liaison with the French authorities and British businesses in order to identify a physical deterrent to the problem of refugees who are preventing the safe and effective passage of transportation through the Channel Tunnel link.

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Minister of State (Department of Transport, Local Government and Regions) (Transport)

I have been asked to reply.

The Government recognise that the disruption caused by would-be illegal immigrants is causing severe hardship to many businesses in this country who depend on reliable freight services through the Channel Tunnel.

The removal of the restrictions is dependent on the implementation of additional security measures at the Calais Fréthun yard so that SNCF can deal effectively with potential illegal immigrants. The Government continue to press the French Government at the highest levels to provide adequate policing resources at Fréthun to support the anti-intrusion measures already being installed by SNCF in order to address the disruption to Channel Tunnel services caused by would-be illegal immigrants. We welcome the additional resources that have already been deployed. The Government also welcome the recent announcement by the French Government of proposals to further strengthen the anti-intrusion measures at Fréthun.

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