By a Newsnet reporter
Revelations that the land surrounding the former RAF base at Kinloss may be contaminated with chemical weapons has prompted the local MP to demand a meeting with the UK Defence Secretary.
Angus Robertson MP for Moray has called for a meeting with defence secretary Philip Hammond to discuss reports of waste at the Kinloss base.

The news that sulphur mustard, commonly known as mustard gas, may have been buried in land sold privately by the MoD was broken by BBC Scotland’s David Miller.

Mr Miller has revealed that documents obtained by the BBC indicate that authorities at the base were aware in 2004 that chemical weapons waste may have contaminated the surrounding land.

The agent can cause severe burns and blisters to the skin, it will destroy body tissue.  Mustard gas is also known to cause cancer.  The documents warn that the chemical, which usually breaks down readily, can persist in damp soil and can be released if the soil is disturbed.

Mr Miller also revealed that the documents confirmed “a number of anomalies” present within land at the base that had not yet been investigated due to “heavy gorse cover”.

Mr Robertson said that these new reports, coupled with earlier investigations confirming radioactive contamination at Dalgety Bay, raised questions relating to possible dangers at the base.

He said: “Given reports of radioactive material at Dalgety Bay, it is important that we understand the situation at Kinloss.

“This is why I’m requesting a meeting with the defence secretary Philip Hammond.

“It is important that there is as much transparency as possible from the Ministry of Defence.”

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "Our investigations to date suggest there is no indication of significant risk to public health or the environment associated with the past storage or disposal of chemical weapon agents in the UK.

"Work undertaken indicates the sites are suitable for their current use, provided that any management systems, restrictions or procedures remain in place.

"We consider protection of human health and the environment to be very important, and if we identify threats to either we inform the regulatory authorities and public as soon as possible ensuring the necessary management measures are put in place."

The possibility of chemical weapon waste at Kinloss comes only days after it emerged six locations in Scotland had been confirmed as being contaminated with radioactive radium.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency are currently investigating another three un-named locations also suspected of having been contaminated by radium.


# RaboRuglen 2012-05-21 07:34
Hi there,

A Ministry spokesman said - "Work undertaken indicates the sites are suitable for their current use, provided that any management systems, restrictions or procedures remain in place."

What use is that? Abandonment!

I wouldn't trust any spokesman from the Ministry of Defence on any subject relating to Scotland.

Get this mess, sorry, these messes cleaned up now.

# J Wil 2012-05-21 07:44
How many more 'revelations' are there to be made?

From aircraft dials, to chemical weapons to,....?

The SG are asking for all hazardous waste dumps in the UK to be revealed by the MOD. That should settle the question about Scotland being used as a waste disposal yard.
# snowthistle 2012-05-21 08:19
There certainly seems to be one in Kent
# MajorBloodnok 2012-05-21 07:55
At least we're finding out about these "Union dividends" now, rather than after independence. I suspect that pretty much every MOD and ex-MOD site in Scotland (not to mention the UK) will have radiation, contamination and unexploded ordnance (UXO) issues of one scale or another.
# Holebender 2012-05-21 18:26
The MoD is in the business of killing people so I suppose we shouldn't be surprised they take such a lax attitude to public (or military) safety.
# ituna semea 2012-05-21 21:14
Good job they were in the business of killing Germans 1939-45.
# Holebender 2012-05-21 22:04
No they weren't, because the MoD didn't exist then. It was more likely called the War Office or some such.

# enneffess 2012-05-21 22:54
As to 1939-45, the Royal Engineers were trained to deploy chemical weapons in the form of gas if the Germans had used them. I have done a lot of research into this including getting hold of a documented history of one field company that was involved.

The MoD has a responsibility to ensure that they provide details of all the locations where chemical weapons were stored and used in training. It's not as if someone is going to get prosecuted for events seventy years ago. I cannot understand why there is this apparent reluctance to provide the facts.

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