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Channel Tunnel Fire Ė MPís confidence in safety  (September 11th 2008)

North Thanet's MP, Roger Gale, has tonight (Thursday) expressed his confidence in the safety measures adopted and implemented by Eurotunnel.

Speaking following the lorry fire on a tunnel freight shuttle the MP said:

"Clearly we shall have to await the outcome of detailed investigations into the cause of the fire to determine what further safety precautions may be necessary to prevent a recurrence but it is gratifying to know that the evacuation procedures and the response of the emergency services went according to plan".

Gale has been instrumental in tightening security measures and in the past has been highly critical of what he has described as "cost cutting measures" at the expense of safety.

As a senior Member of the Home Affairs Select Committee at the time he was instrumental in triggering the "Fire Safety and the Channel Tunnel" report which, before the tunnel opened, led to a tightening of security and additional expenditure on communications systems.  After the serious and most damaging tunnel fire he again called for and secured a review of response and communications systems which led to a further tightening of controls.

But tonight the MP has said:

"Of course we can and should look for improvements and for ways of anticipating and preventing danger but given the obvious potential for accident and attack I nevertheless believe that the rail tunnels are a largely safe and secure form of transport.  I know of no reason why anyone should not continue to use the Channel tunnel with the same degree of confidence that millions daily use underground trains, aircraft, ferries and cars.  We must certainly not be complacent, but neither should we over-react".

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