Monday, 21 May 2012

Chemical Weapon Legacy

A recent BBC report concerning RAF Kinloss highlighted  a statement by the MOD  about a  land quality assessment completed in 2004 warned chemical weapons agent may be "present within landfill and waste tip areas located within the alienated land which is accessible to the general public".

A blog post by Rob Edwards provides a very good overview of the UKs’ chemical weapons legacy. In response to the legacy of chemical weapons MOD set up project clean Sweep

It interesting to consider that some of the reassurances provided by project clean sweep are based on “desk studies”, the value of these desk studies depends on the quality and availability of records and as was recently pointed in the recent BBC Radio 4 programme Face the Facts MODs’ record keeping appears to have been far from adequate. This casts doubts on the statement of reassurance by MOD in relation to operation Clean sweep

The fact the assurance is in any case qualified by the statement about the use management restrictions, procedures suggests that in some cases a significant risk may remain.  In many cases sites may have passed out of MOD ownership and transferred to new owners without adequate information about potential contaminates such as radium or chemical weapons residues

It’s interesting to consider the entries on the “Secret Scotland web site for Grangemouth and RAF Macmerry that says:-

"Former crew stationed at Grangemouth have told of the base being used for secret operations involving the spraying of gas, using Lysanders of 614 Squadron. The whole area around the base became a restricted area due to the stockpiles of mustard gas held there and the secrecy of the missions carried out. The restricted area took in the nearby town and the docks, and special passes were issued to all residents.

This account is supported by the release of formerly classified or secret information into the public domain regarding the posting of 614 Squadron to RAF Macmerry, where the installation of storage tanks has been described beneath the north end of the runway, with 614 being tasked with spraying the material over the invasion beaches in the event of an enemy attack from this direction. “

“Information released into the public domain is reported to describe secret operations involving 641 Squadron and RAF Macmerry.

The northern end of the airfield, now beneath the A1 dual-carriageway, is described as having been equipped with underground storage tanks containing supplies of mustard gas which the aircraft of 641 were to spray over the invasion beaches had the enemy attacked from that direction. This account agrees with similar information revealed with regard to the activities of 614 Squadron when it was operating at RAF Grangemouth, where secret tests are reported to have been carried out there involving the spraying of mustard gas from Lysander aircraft. “

Yet the MOD have not listed these sites in their paper on project Clean sweep.

1 comment:

  1. approx 10 years ago whilst leveling out the area of unused land to the east of the rbs bank buildings, underground storage bunkers were uncovered and lots of rusty barrels were seen stacked in them.I just learned of this recently,as to the contents.......
    if they were examined by anyone.........or removed,
    i certainly read or heard nothing.