24th November 2015
The Eurostar has been in the news a lot over the past few months. With the migrant crisis unfolding across Europe and the Middle East, the Channel Tunnel has been the site of a lot of disruption and sadness, as many refugees attempt to use it to make their way to the UK, in search of refuge from the wars and destruction in their own nations. Due to the sheer number of refugees trying to use the Tunnel without a vehicle, or trying to walk the tracks of the Eurostar and putting themselves in great danger, both have been disrupted many times since the crisis started earlier this year.
In order to attempt to reduce this disruption, the French authorities have now erected a a security fence around both the Channel Tunnel and the Eurostar at Calais, in a similar move to some Eastern and Central European countries like Bulgaria and Slovakia, who have put up perimeter fencing around their borders to control the flow of people. This week, it is being reported by local papers in Kent, where the crossing with France ends, that this has helped reduce disruption in the area (http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kent-business/county-news/fencing-cuts-migrant-disruption-46861/).
This is good news, as many people were sceptical as to how effective the fence would be, given that similar projects have failed in previous years. However, the 37km security fencing has reduced the disruption almost to zero, as it is being reported that no refugees have made their way into the UK using this route since it was erected. This has also led the Eurostar corporation to make a statement, claiming that their site has been “restored to its habitual high level of protection”, and that it has been operating a normal level of security for the past month. This year, the train service has seen record levels of usage, even despite the disruption caused during the summer months. This whole project is expected to have cost the British government at least £7 million, most of which was aided to the French authorities in order to build the fence.