Pressure on the supply chain in northern France mounted yesterday after a fire in the Grande-Synthe migrant camp near Dunkirk burnt the settlement to the ground.

Trade associations said while they recognised the sadness of the situation, the blaze could be a problem for UK operators as it may push migrants back into the Calais area.

It is thought more than 1,000 migrants were living in the camp.

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said this would put HGV drivers and their cargos at risk.

He said: “A sudden influx of well over 1,000 displaced migrants will only make what is already a bad situation much, much worse.”

FTA head of European policy Pauline Bastidon said it was up to the French government to make sure HGVs are safe.

She said: “Our members still report cases of migrant incursion, and the recent events could exacerbate the problem. They need to be able to go through this region without having to worry about potential violence or migrants’ attempts to board lorries bound for the UK.”

The fire in Dunkirk came after an operator voiced his concern about a wave of truckstop closures, prompted by migrants returning to the area and entering HGVs parked up at the stops.

Brian Yeardley MD Kevin Hopper said the closures could force his drivers to exceed drivers’ hours rules.

He told My drivers are instructed to park four hours out of Calais to avoid any migrants and I am not going to endanger their security by instructing them to park any closer.

"But now the Folkestone Harbour parking facilities are closing, that could force drivers returning via Calais to exceed their driving hours [when] trying to find an alternative parking site to Folkestone - but no one seems to care about that.”