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Channel Tunnel

Volume 716: debated on Tuesday 19 January 2010


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the restraints on unauthorised immigration via the Channel Tunnel. [HL1194]

The juxtaposed controls, operated by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in France and Belgium, have been extremely effective in countering illegal entry to the UK through the Channel Tunnel. Staffed on a 24/7 basis and supported by a range of measures, including the deployment of world-leading technology, enhanced intelligence and closer working between all agencies, these controls have created one of the toughest borders in the world.

The Channel Tunnel is used by services from the Eurostar ports (Brussels, Lille and Paris) and Eurotunnel at Coquelles. From 2007 to 2009, over 5,800 passengers who were inadequately documented or did not meet the UK conditions of entry, were refused entry at the Eurostar ports. During the same period, over 2,200 passengers were refused at Coquelles port.

A total of 396,000 freight vehicles travelled through the Channel Tunnel in 2009. Over the same period, working alongside the French authorities, UKBA staff searching freight vehicles prevented 2,225 individual clandestine attempts to enter the UK illegally, via the Channel Tunnel.

In addition, the number of illegal immigrants detected in Kent has been reduced by over 80 per cent since 2002.