HC Deb 20 April 1948 vol 449 cc1621-2
38. Mr. Snadden

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will announce in regard to the ammunition and explosives stored in the depot in Perthshire and contiguous counties, the details of the schedule of removal or disposal of the stores intimated by Scottish Command to the B.B.C. for the purpose of the news talk broadcasts by the Scottish Region on Wednesday, 25th February, 1948; whether this schedule is being adhered to; and what is the anticipated date of completion of the operation.

Mr. Shinwell

I will, with permission, circulate a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT about this matter.

Mr. Snadden

Can the right hon. Gentleman say now what will be the date of completion of the operation?

Mr. Shinwell

No, but we are proceeding very rapidly with this.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his Department informed me that this stuff was still being sent from England to Scotland, and when I asked why, I was told that it was with a view to its being dumped in the sea? Is there no sea round England as well as round Scotland?

Following is the statement:

The B.B.C. were informed that (1) the roads from Trossachs to Aberfoyle and Trossachs to Callender were being cleared of ammunition at the rate of 250 tons a week, and that given average weather it was hoped that all the ammunition would be cleared by the end of March; (2) 250 tons a week of demolition explosives were being cleared; if this rate were maintained complete clearance would be effected in April; (3) approximately 500 tons of ammunition were being sent away for breaking down weekly and preparations were being made to dump some 2,000 tons of dangerous ammunition not able to be broken down.

Progress to date is as follows:—(1) The first of these roads has now been completely cleared and the other has been cleared except for some thousand tons of serviceable ammunition which must be kept, and which will be moved as soon as the necessary manpower and transport are available. (2) Certain difficulties have been met in the clearance of demolition explosives. Consequently it is not possible at the moment to give a definite date for completion. (3) The breakdown programme has been maintained and indeed the target for the end of March has been exceeded. It has not yet been possible to start dumping, but preparations for doing so are well advanced.

During the first three months of this year approximately 20,000 tons have been cleared from this depot. It is hoped that the depot will be completely clear of ammunition by the end of next year.