HC Deb 09 February 1995 vol 254 c412W
Mr. Cousins

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 27 January, to the hon. Member for South Shields (Dr. Clark)Official Report, column 448, how chemical weapons and munitions disposed of by methods other than being sealed in sunk cargo vessels were disposed of; and at what dates and locations such other methods were used.

Mr. Soames

Surviving records of sea dumping indicate that between July and October 1945 some 14,000 tonnes of 5-in artillery rockets filled with phosgene gas were dumped in Beauforts Dyke explosive dumping ground in the north channel. The munitions, contained within ammunition crates, were jettisoned from vessels and sunk. Current scientific evidence indicates that chemical weapon dump sites present no significant risk to human health or to the marine environment and the living resources it supports. On exposure to sea water, phosgene gas rapidly decomposes to non-toxic compounds through dilution and hydrolysis.