HC Deb 17 June 2002 vol 387 cc68-9W
David Hamilton

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the answer of 29 April 2002,Official Report, column 567W, on the channel tunnel, what recent discussions he has had with the French Government regarding the policing resources at Fré;thun; what British policing resources are in place to support anti-intrusion measures; if he will claim compensation from the French Government for the companies affected by asylum seekers; and if he will make a statement. [60806]

Mr. Jamieson

We continue to discuss channel tunnel issues with France at the highest levels. On 17 May my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary spoke at length with French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. It was a constructive discussion which covered a range of issues, in particular illegal immigration and the policing of the SNCF site in Fréthun. M Sarkozy assured the Home Secretary that the existing policing resources would be maintained. Further bilateral meetings are planned.

There are no powers for British police to operate on French soil to support anti-intrusion measures at Fréthun. However, we have expressed our willingness in principle to help in any way we can with improvements to physical security. In particular we are willing to provide specialist detection equipment. In the UK, the British Transport Police attend the Dollands Moor freight depot as necessary to detain and process clandestines.

As far as compensation is concerned, freight operators can seek to enforce EU law on the free movement of goods in the French courts, and this could include a claim for losses caused by the breach of that law.

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