HC Deb 10 July 1946 vol 425 cc375-6
19. Lieut.-Colonel Clifton-Brown

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air when ammunition dumps in the area of West Suffolk will be removed; and what action he is taking to ensure that they cannot be exploded by heath or forest fires.

Mr. de Freitas

As my predecessor has stated in previous replies, the problem of disposal of the enormous quantities of surplus explosives is very serious and there simply is not enough labour or transport to get the whole job done quickly. I am afraid I cannot forecast when our stores of explosives will be cleared away from West Suffolk. Meanwhile we are doing all we can to safeguard them against fire or other dangers. The explosives—which are fenced in and, of course, unfused—are regularly inspected and patrolled.

Lieut.-Colonel Clifton-Brown

Is the Minister aware that fire does not stop at a fence, and that there are only ten men to guard all these places? What further action can he take to see that these dumps do not catch fire?

Mr. de Freitas

I am aware that fire does not stop at a fence. I cannot say that I am aware of the exact number of people involved in the patrols, but I can say that, considering how short we are of men, we are doing all we can and have taken special steps here.

Mr. Assheton

Is it not the case that some of these dumps are being added to with newly manufactured shells?

Mr. de Freitas

I have no information about that.