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Kent in Crisis: Task force meeting held in Maidstone

Members of task force meeting arrive in Maidstone Credit: ITV News Meridian

The police, authority members, MP's, and Highways England arrive for urgent task force meeting in Maidstone to review 'urgent options' for dealing with Operation Stack.

Members of task force meeting arrive in Maidstone Credit: ITV News Meridian
Members of task force meeting arrive in Maidstone


Migrant crisis: Kent struggles to cope with young children found alone at Dover

Child crisis: Kent battles to cope with the number of youngsters arriving at Dover Credit: ITV News

Kent is struggling to cope with the hundreds of young children - minors - arriving unaccompanied at the port of Dover.

Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Council, has met officials from the Home Office. The number of young migrants in the local authority's care has almost doubled to 605 in the last three months, leaving it with a multi-million pound funding gap.

Mr Carter said the "massive logistical exercise" of supporting those aged under 18 who make it to the UK is putting an "enormous strain" on children's social services.

"We've got two issues," he said. "One is having to contend with Operation Stack and the main arterial route, the M20, being closed in both directions.

"But also, local government has statutory duties to provide care for unaccompanied minors under the age of 18 and those numbers have escalated dramatically in the last four to five weeks.

"That is connected with more migrants getting on to trains and in some cases boats and presenting at Folkestone or Dover seeking asylum. If they are under 18 we have to care and provide for them.

"About a year ago it was running at about 238 unaccompanied minors under the age of 18 that we were supporting. That is now well over 600 and rising day by day, week by week."

He said the council faces a shortfall of £5.5 million in care costs.

Kent in Crisis: Could MoD land free up the M20?

British troops could join efforts to ease traffic congestion in Kent as the migrant crisis shows no sign of abating.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is understood to be in the early stages of developing plans which could involve using land owned by the department to free up space on the M20.

Police try to stop migrants at Calais Credit: PA Images

The Daily Telegraph said MoD land around Folkestone could be used as a temporary lorry parks.

The source said a decision on the plans would be "taken in due course", adding they were led by the civilian authorities rather than military.

David Cameron, who has returned to the UK after a four-day tour of south-east Asia, is in the Government's emergency Cobra committee this morning.

It is understood he will ask ministers and officials to see whether more can be done to address the situation at the port and the Channel Tunnel railhead at Coquelles.

Kent in crisis: Lorries queue up on the M20 Credit: ITV News

The meeting comes after Mr Cameron blamed the chaos at Calais on a "swarm" of migrants crossing the Mediterranean and travelling through Europe.

French security and police were again dispatched to prevent desperate migrants from gaining illegal access to the Channel Tunnel following a week of unrest in Calais.

The situation in Calais has threatened to bring the cross-Channel haulage industry to a halt, with long queues at border control points in England and France.

As the situation rumbled into a fourth night of disorder, up to a hundred migrants roared as they steamed through police lines at a petrol station near the terminal to gain access to the tunnel.

French gendarmes and riot police at first were overwhelmed by the numbers coming at them but were able to gain control of the situation.

Officers, some with their batons drawn, formed a cordon backed up by riot vans.

But they could not prevent the men, women and children, mainly from East African and Arab countries, from bringing the road out of the tunnel in Coquelles to a standstill.

They watched as three or four teenage migrants climbed over a fence but later came back when they realised they had hit a dead end.

Afterwards Eurotunnel said its French platform was unavailable due to "security reasons".

A spokesman said: "Due to overnight activity around our French terminal, timetables are disrupted from both directions."

Another night of drama in Calais has increased fears the UK's already under-pressure social services will be pushed to breaking point as the number of asylum seekers increases.


Improved facilities for rail passengers from Reading

Major changes at Paddington Credit: Network Rail

Over the next 18 months Network Rail will be making significant changes to Paddington station to provide passengers with new and improved facilities and ultimately a better travelling experience. Large numbers of commuters travel there from Reading.

The Grade 1 listed structure is currently benefitting from a renovation of its roof and an upgrade to its lighting system above the platforms.

Now Network Rail is starting a major programme of work to significantly improve the appearance of the station as a whole and provide growing numbers of passengers – 61 million forecast for this year - with a wider range of places to eat, drink and shop.

Recycling may be affected by cutbacks

Recycling centres could be closed Credit: ITV

Recycling centres in Surrey could be closed or only open at the busiest times. The plans are being looked at by the county council which says it's under increasing financial pressure following government cuts. Another option is to introduce a charge for dropping off non-household waste such as rubble and plasterboard. A consultation is underway.

Children are guests of honour at Stonehenge

The children at Stonehenge Credit: English Heritage

For the first time in its 4,500-year-old history, children have been invited to step inside the stone circle at Stonehenge and discover it without any grown-ups, as part of English Heritage’s new Kids Takeover summer season.

To launch the season, English Heritage asked 1,066 children to help compile a list of fun activities to reflect history.

The wish was granted with the help of eight-year-old Thea Hunt, English Heritage’s first ever Child Executive Officer, and a selection of children from across the country.

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