Ascension Island: What to know about potential migrant processing centre

The small, volcanic island could host an asylum processing centre in an attempt to reduce the number of small boats crossing the Channel.

The Government is reportedly considering reviving plans to fly people who arrive to the UK by unauthorised means to Ascension Island.

Multiple reports say ministers and officials are considering the island as a “plan B” if the scheme to send migrants to Rwanda fails.

The small, volcanic island could host an asylum processing centre in an attempt to reduce the number of small boats crossing the Channel.

Marine protected areas
Handout from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) of an endangered Green Turtle nesting on Ascension Island (Sam Weber/ RSPB)/ PA)

– Where is Ascension Island?

Ascension Island is a British Overseas Territory, located about 4,000 miles from the UK and situated in the South Atlantic Ocean.

It is east of Brazil and west of Angola.

The island is around 807 miles northwest of St Helena and just under 34 square miles in size.

– Who lives on Ascension Island?

There is no permanent or Indigenous population on the island, rather it is made up of employees and their families who work on the island.

There are around 800 people living on the island at any point in time, made up of St Helenians, Americans and Britons.

– What amenities are on the island?

The island has two settlements, Georgetown and Two Boats.

It has two military bases, which are home to the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the United States Air Force, along with an airfield and a BBC relay station.

Ascension Island has a handful of shops, gyms and swimming pools, and even a cinema and an array of outdoor activities.

Marine protected areas
Marine life in seas around Ascension Island (RSPB/ PA)

– Who governs the island?

Ascension Island is not a part of the UK, rather it has it’s own Constitution that it shares with St Helena and Tristan da Cunha and is self-governing. The UK is responsible for defence, international relations and security on the island.

Ascension Island has five councillors and the Governor of St Helena, Nigel Phillips.

The currency on the island is the St Helena pound which has the same worth as the pound sterling.

The island was used as a base by the US during the Second World War and as a support base for the RAF during the Falklands War.

– What is the environment like on the island?

The temperature of the island ranges from 20C to 38C with a wet season during January to April.

The island has the Green Mountain, which has a peak of 859 metres, as well as low coastal areas and an array of native wildlife including turtles, seabirds and crustaceans.

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