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'Anarchy' in France blamed for continued Chunnel freight delays

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FREIGHT OPERATORS last week stepped up pressure on French and British politicians to stem the increasing disruption to Channel Tunnel rail traffic caused by illegal immigrants boarding trains in France.

Lobby organisation Rail Freight Group last week wrote to European internal market commissioner Frits Bolkestein accusing France of allowing anarchy to rule at the Frethun freight yard in Calais.

Freight operator English Welsh & Scottish Railway International will also this week present evidence to the European Parliament's Petitions Committee to back its claims that France is breaching the Treaty of Rome .

Both groups say France is failing to prevent illegal immigrants entering the Frethun yard. As a result, trains are delayed while they are searched and, in some cases, the contents are destroyed by people hiding in wagons, they claim.

Last week, French rail operator SNCF was forced to close all of its borders to freight trains after the Frethun yard was unable to clear the backlog of trains.

Rail Freight Group's letter to Bolkestein was highly critical of the French government's actions in Calais. 'The French government has not honoured its commitment to provide adequate numbers of police 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ' it says.

'We remain amazed that the French government is allowing anarchy to continue in the Calais Frethun area.'

EWS International accuses France of breaching the Treaty of Rome by failing to prevent the free movement of goods through the Channel Tunnel. It also says the French are effectively placing import and export restrictions on freight passing through the Channel Tunnel.

INFOPLUS www. ews-railway.co.uk www. rfg. org. uk

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