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Channel migrant crossings likely to hit 21,000 within days


Official figures from the Ministry of Defence show that 20,300 people have been detected on small boats in the Channel since 1 January this year.

That figure is close to double the number of people who arrived in small boats at this time last year.


Weather conditions in the English Channel today are poor, with winds making the crossing extremely difficult for small boats.

And despite the unfavourable conditions, three small boats crossed on Sunday with around 150 people onboard.

They have now been taken to the Border Force processing centre at Dover harbour for medical and other checks, before entering the UK asylum system.

Last week, the Government announced that controversial plans to house up to 1,200 asylum seekers at a former RAF base in Yorkshire had been abandoned.

The first group of asylum seekers was due to arrive at the base next to the village of Linton-on-Ouse next month.

The plans were heavily criticised by local people, who said the number of asylum seekers would far outnumber villagers and could lead to problems in the local community, which has little in the way of local amenities.

Although the Government has now abandoned plans to use Linton-on-Ouse, it said it was still committed to finding alternative sites, where large groups of asylum seekers could be housed together.

The alternative of using tens of thousands of hotel rooms every day, at a cost of more than £5million a day to the taxpayer, was no longer sustainable, according to the Home Office.

Other plans to fly thousands of asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing are mired in legal challenges and the Home Office is unlikely to be able to attempt another flight to Rwanda until at least October.