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M20 emergency Calais measure lifted

Published 25/06/2015

Operation Stack on the M20 was lifted after 36 hours
Operation Stack on the M20 was lifted after 36 hours

An emergency measure which closed parts of a motorway to traffic other than lorries heading towards the English Channel has been lifted 36 hours after it was introduced following disruption at the port of Calais.

The M20 coastbound in Kent is now fully open to all traffic after Operation Stack - in which parts of the M20 are used for lorries travelling to the port of Dover - was ended early this morning.

Lorries had been queued after the Channel Tunnel was closed amid strike action by French ferry workers on Tuesday, and chaos ensued as migrants in Calais attempted to clamber aboard UK-bound vehicles.

David Cameron has described the scenes at the French port, where 350 migrants hidden in cars and trucks were reportedly found by police within just four hours yesterday morning, as "totally unacceptable".

Home Secretary Theresa May said British and French authorities had stopped "significant numbers" of migrants from entering the UK in recent days, while Mr Cameron called for both countries to work together, insisting there was "no point either side trying to point the finger of blame".

Ten migrants were found in the back of an articulated lorry parked in a truck park in Folkestone, Kent, at around 4.30pm yesterday.

A Kent Police spokesman said: "They were all fine and taken by police to Dover Immigration Centre and are now under their care."

The worsening migrant plight near the Port of Calais has seen numbers camped there swell to more than 3,000 since April.

Aid workers have reported a "catastrophic" situation, with predictions that some 2,000 more migrants displaced from war-torn countries including Eritrea, Syria and Afghanistan could arrive over the summer.

Statistics showing the number of people who applied for asylum in the UK in the month of April are due to be released today.

Meanwhile the transport minister has accused France of giving in to political pressure, claiming they need a Thatcher-like figure to resolve the problem.

Robert Goodwill told the Times after a conference in London yesterday: "That's what happens when you have a left-wing government that may be very close to the trades unions. That gives the trades unions a sort of feeling that, 'well, we might be able to get what we want through industrial action'."

Mr Cameron said yesterday he had discussed with Mrs May the possibility of sending more UK officers and sniffer dog teams to Calais, and said more fences are being installed at the port as well as around the entrance to the Channel Tunnel.

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