New tunnel security 'in six months'

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The Independent Online

France promised to beef up Channel Tunnel security yesterday but said it would take another six months to install a system able to stop migrants boarding freight trains.

France promised to beef up Channel Tunnel security yesterday but said it would take another six months to install a system able to stop migrants boarding freight trains.

The pledge, made at a meeting in Brussels, went some way to meeting British demands, although officials said they would press Paris to speed up its timetable.

The dispute centres on the Frethun freight terminal, where services have been regularly disrupted because of the lax security measures. The British firm English Welsh and Scottish Railway (EWS) says it has lost millions of pounds through the interruption to services.

Although the European Commission could take legal action against the French for failing to allow open trade in the single market, that is unlikely to happen. Instead the Government has offered France technical help with security measures.

Graham Smith, EWS planning director, said November was too long to wait for the completion of the work. "If the entire resources of the French government cannot resolve this issue until November you have to question the sense of urgency," he said.

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