The RHA has called for better information to be made available to truck operators about cross-Channel delays after an alarming spike in illegal migrant activity in Calais last week.

Following a strike by French ferry staff, trucks were caught up in hours of delays and subsequently targeted by migrants attempting to enter the UK illegally, producing scenes prime minster David Cameron described as “totally unacceptable”.

Cameron said the UK must work on better security at Calais; more co-operation with European partners to stop the problem at source; and “making sure Britain is a less easy place for illegal migrants to come to”.  

Calais deputy mayor Emmanuel Aigus suggested the UK was showing disregard for the people of Calais in not doing more about the migrant problem; but UK immigration minister James Brokenshire stated that “law and order in and around Calais is the responsibility of the French authorities”.

Downing Street said that it will establish a new taskforce to tackle the threat posed by illegal immigration from North Africa, consisting of 90 officers from various agencies.

As vehicle flows through the port began to recover, the taskforce proposal was welcomed by both RHA head of international affairs Peter Cullum and FTA international manager Don Armour. 

Armour said it was “one of the strands” needed to deal with the migrant problem, but also called on the government to “take a pragmatic and sensible view” over the imposition of fines for carrying stowaways during this “ridiculously out-of-control situation”. 

Cullum said the success of the taskforce would depend on how they were deployed and called for much better information to be provided on the length of delays at Calais.

Brian Yeardley Continental MD Kevin Hopper said of events last week: “From 2010 to this month we had four instances of immigrants in trailers. Last week we had two. That’s how tight our security is, but even as a responsible haulier, they are getting into our trailers. That’s a massive worry to us now.”