RAF Scampton, a UK military base due to accommodate up to 2,000 asylum seekers  has been found to be contaminated with ground gases and unexploded ordnance, according to government documents.

It is one of three mass accommodation sites selected by the Home Office to house asylum seekers as a purportedly cheaper alternative to hotels.

Ministers originally planned to house 3,000 asylum seekers on three sites – the Bibby Stockholm barge in Portland, Dorset, the Wethersfield former military base in Essex and RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire – by the end of 2023. But there are fewer than 1,000 people on the Bibby Stockholm and at Wethersfield and none at Scampton, though the first 60 asylum seekers are due to arrive there in the coming weeks.

According to the Guardian, a letter from Lee Rowley, the minister for housing, planning and building safety, addressed to West Lindsey district council, where RAF Scampton is situated, stated that there are “potential risks to human health arising from ground gases, UXO (unexploded ordnance) and ground contamination which could affect both workers on the site and asylum seekers”.

“These risks could mean the site is not suitable for its intended use which could give rise to likely significant effects associated with human health,” the letter states.

The letter also says that mitigation measures are in place to make the site safe but “in the unlikely event of failure of any of the mitigation measures users will be removed from the affected location within the site”.