§ Mr. Chris Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has about the radioactive contamination at Admiralty Compass Observatory in Slough; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Aitken
Following a preliminary radiological monitoring survey carried out by Ministry of Defence staff at the Defence Research Agency site at Ditton Park, Slough, formerly known as the Admiralty Compass Observatory, very low levels of radium-226 contamination have been found within and adjacent to a former luminising workshop used in the manufacture of compasses from about 1940 to the mid 1950s. There is no access by members of the public to the building. The contamination external to the building is held within the soil structure and poses no hazard to members of the public. Further monitoring will be undertaken in the near future to establish more fully the extent of the contamination and to determine what remedial action is required.
Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution, Slough borough council, and the royal borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council have been kept informed of the situation.