Chemical weapon and radiation fear at Scottish RAF base

| 21st May 2012
RAF Kinloss in Moray, Scotland, at the centre of an investigation into radioactive contamination and chemical weapons buried at the site

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) may have sold off land contaminated with chemical weapons and radioactive material buried at an RAF base in North-East Scotland, according to reports.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) is already investigating radioactive contamination at RAF Kinloss, believed to be from Second World War aircraft coated in radium and buried at the site.

It has now emerged that sulphur mustard chemical weapons, which can cause severe burns and cancer, may also be buried at the site. The risk was highlighted in a land assessment report from 2004 and obtained recently by BBC Scotland.

Some of this contaminated land may have been sold off to communities living close to RAF Kinloss.

The MOD currently insists its investigations had so far revealed 'no indication of significant risk to public health'.

The Scottish Environment Minister Richard Lochhead has called for a quick and transparent investigation into any possible contamination.

'I am deeply concerned by media reports that the Ministry of Defence may have sold land contaminated with radioactive material to communities around RAF Kinloss.

'I understand that the MOD is conducting investigations into possible contamination at the site. The Secretary of State for Defence must ensure that this work is comprehensive, transparent and completed as soon as practically possible. Should the presence of radioactive contamination be confirmed I will press the MOD to work with SEPA and start remediation work as a matter of urgency.

'Understandably, these reports will cause anxiety in communities around RAF Kinloss.  It is imperative the Ministry of Defence does all it can to reassure the public in Moray and across the rest of Scotland that any further relevant information will be disclosed in full,' said Mr Lochhead.

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