Construction is soon to begin on a “big new wall” in Calais following a surge in the number of migrants trying to get across the Channel, the Government has announced.
The 13ft (4m) high concrete barrier will be funded by Britain at a cost of £2 million, and will stretch over a half a mile along the main dual carriageway approaching the ferry port. Work is expected to begin as soon as this month.
The measure was confirmed on Tuesday by the immigration minister, Robert Goodwill, who said: “The security that we are putting in at the port is being stepped up with better equipment.
“We are going to start building this big new wall very soon. We’ve done the fence, now we are doing a wall.”
It will be placed on either side of the road to prevent migrants from trying to stop traffic and climb into lorries and other vehicles.
The Road Haulage Association has criticised the measure as a bad use of taxpayers’ money, which could instead be spend on “increasing security along approach roads”.
Figures released last month showed that UK Border Force guards on French soil stopped 84,088 migrants last year.
French police commissioner Patrick Visser-Bourdon has claimed there were 22,000 breaches of the port road defences in June this year, in comparison to 3,000 in January.
On Monday the main motorway into Calais was blockaded by lorries, police, union members, shopkeepers and farmers demanding that the Jungle migrant camp be demolished.
Trucks, vans and tractors blocked the junction at the entrance to the Eurotunnel, with protesters saying they would not move until the French government takes action over the migrant crisis.
Eventually they agreed to end the protest following concessions from the government, according to a Eurotunnel spokesman.
Mr Goodwill said: “The security that we are putting in at the port is being stepped up with better equipment. We are going to start building this big new wall very soon as part of the £17 million package we are doing with the French.”
He also told the Commons home affairs committee that the aim of reducing immigration to the tens of thousands was a “big challenge”.
“That is our clear objective and we intend to pursue every visa route that we can to reduce those numbers,” he said.
He said the Government was not in the position to identify and remove every EU citizen in the UK after Brexit.
“It would not be a negotiating objective of the UK to remove people working and living here, making a contribution to our health service, to our agriculture, to all the other areas that they do,” he said.