No end to the migrant crisis appears to be in sight for international vehicle operators crossing the Channel to the UK via Calais, after the town’s mayor Natacha Bouchart warned the problems there were not going to go away anytime soon.

Her comments came as the UK’s Border Force confirmed there had been surge in the number of migrants caught in the first three months of this financial year attemting to make it to the UK.

Giving evidence to a Home Affairs Committee hearing on Tuesday (8 September), Bouchart said she was “disgusted” with the lack of support shown for Calais’ residents over the last 15 years by French and British governments.

She called for the agreement under which the juxtaposed border was created, as well as the whole Schengen agreement, to be reviewed.

Decrying UK prime minster David Cameron’s assertion that the 20,000 migrants the UK would take on would not include any of those already in Europe, Bouchart said she would have a “moral obligation” to Calais residents to remove all restrictions at the border if more support were not forthcoming from both sides of the Channel soon.

She added that the problem of migration was “not going to go away overnight”.

No easy options

Later in the hearing, Border Force director general Sir Charles Montgomery warned that dismantling the juxtaposed controls would require a high level of redesign and reinvestment at the ports of Dover and Calais, and would “increase the leakage across the UK border and act as a pull for more people”.

Montgomery added that the 40,000 migrants apprehended on both sides of the Channel during 2014-2015 was double the number caught the previous year, before going on to confirm that a further 30,000 attempts had been thwarted in just the first three months of 2015-2016.

Committee chair Keith Vaz later reiterated concerns that recent moves to bolster security at Calais and Coquelles, while effective, could simply push the problem elsewhere.

Alluding to recent discussions with the authorities at Ostend and Hook of Holland, Vaz said: “The trouble is that once you close one port of exit, others open up.”

Immigration minister James Brokenshire said the UK was discussing the issue of problems at other ports with Belgian and Dutch authorities but that although it was something the UK government was conscious of, “we haven’t see a significant increase in numbers”.