Farmers block Chunnel freight

Demonstrating French farmers have blocked freight traffic into the Channel tunnel at Calais.

Demonstrating French farmers have blocked freight traffic into the Channel tunnel at Calais.

The farmers, who are protesting about high fuel prices in France, used a dozen tractors to block a main access road some 800 metres from the entrance to the loading area for trains carrying lorries into the tunnel from France.

The farmers were not obstructing motorists driving their cars through the northern port towards the special trains that carry them to Britain but they were slowed by having to snake through the tractors.

Congestion on a second smaller access road leading to the loading area forced traffic to a standstill even though the road was free of demonstrators.

Freight and passenger traffic arriving from Britain was unaffected by the demonstration and moved freely off trains, out of the tunnel unloading area and into the highway system.

There were no reports of disruption of the Eurostar trains that carry passengers, but no vehicles, from London and Ashford in England to the continent.

Riot police had earlier prevented the farmers from moving close to the entrance to the loading areas.

They main effect of the protest, which started on Monday, has been the blocking of oil depots and refineries by truck owners who say they are being driven out of business.

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