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Britain to build wall in Calais to keep migrants at bay

Make-shift shelters near to the Jungle Books Cafe at the Jungle migrant camp on September 6, 2016 in Calais, France. Photograph: (Getty)

AFP London, United Kingdom Sep 08, 2016, 01.42 AM (IST)
Britain will start building wall in the French port city of Calais to prevent refugees and migrants from entering the country, the interior ministry said on Wednesday. 

The barrier, which will be 4-metre high and one kilometre long, will be built on a port approach road starting this month. The project is likely to be completed by the end of the year, officials said. 

"We are going to start building this big new wall very soon. We've done the fence, now we are doing a wall," junior minister Robert Goodwill told a parliamentary committee.

He added that security was being stepped up in Calais, home to the “Jungle'' camp, to keep thousands of migrants from the Middle East who are fleeing war and poverty. There were a lot of attempted channel crossings last year by migrants sneaking onto lorries boarding ferries and the Eurotunnel.

France had dismantled the southern half of the Jungle camp in February and March. 

In March, Britain and France had agreed to a 17 million pound of security measures of which the wall is a part. 

The agreement has drawn severe criticism from across the political spectrum.  

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas called the wall "monstrous" and the campaign group, Citizens UK, asked Britain to use the money to transfer child migrants with families in Britain from Calais instead.

Richard Burnett, chief executive of Britain's Road Haulage Association said that funding for the wall "would be much better spent on increasing security along the approach roads".

The jungle is a home to some 7,000 migrants, but the number might have mounted to 10,000 after the recent influx, the charities have said. 

There have been complaints of migrants attacking vehicles with metal bars to stop them. They sometimes use tree branches to block roads to slow trucks heading for Britain.

 

(WION with inputs from agencies)
 

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