On 30 September my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Byrne) met with Brice Hortefeux in Paris and discussed the problem of illegal migration in Northern France. They welcomed progress on strengthening border security, deterring irregular migrants from coming to the area and agreed to increase efforts to reduce the numbers of irregular migrants in the area. They restated their shared opposition to a permanent humanitarian centre. The UK looks forward to further cooperation with France on joint returns and information campaigns in countries of source and origin to deter migrants from remaining in Northern France.
Locally-collated management information shows that in 2007, the UK Border Agency prevented 2,974 illegal attempts to enter the UK through the channel tunnel. The UK Border Agency does not hold the relevant reliable statistical information for the period 1997.
The following table shows that since the end of 2001, there has been a 672 per cent. increase in the detection of illegal attempts to enter the UK through the channel tunnel.
Number 2001 1385 2002 963 2003 3,396 2004 2,969 2005 2,427 2006 2,160 2007 2,974 1 Coquelles only
1 Coquelles only
There are no permanent camps in the Calais area since the closure of Sangatte in 2002. The French police regularly intervene to disrupt areas with high numbers of migrants or where such areas threaten to become durable. The number of people sleeping rough in Northern France is believed to vary greatly and are difficult to estimate. However between January and September 2006 there was an 88 per cent. fall in the number of clandestine entrants arriving in Kent compared to the same period in 2002. On the question of children, the French have in place specific procedures for protecting children, and provide particular support to children via their equivalent local authorities in the area.