HC Deb 14 December 1953 vol 522 cc7-8W
Mr. Lewis

asked the Minister of Supply if he is aware that on Friday, 4th December, two heavy explosions from the direction of the River Thames shook many houses in East London and Essex districts; that these explosions were part of an experiment on the heavy artillery range at Woolwich Arsenal; and, as these explosions trouble residents for many miles around the Woolwich area, if he will give an assurance that, in future, such trials or tests will be carried out on Salisbury Plain or some other area away from residential premises.

Mr. Low

Firings of this kind are essential to prove heavy ammunition before issue to the Royal Navy. For more than 30 years they have taken place at Woolwich where there are special facilities. There have been fewer firings in 1953 than in any other recent year. In view of the inconvenience caused to residents in the neighbourhood, my right hon. Friend has carefully considered whether he can set up facilities of this type for firing elsewhere. But the high cost involved and the fact that other proving ranges are fully employed make this impossible at present.