HC Deb 26 July 1999 vol 336 cc47-8W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the environmental effects of targeting depleted uranium ammunition on dummy armour. [91844]

Mr. Spellar

This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Elizabeth Peace to Mr. John Bercow, dated 26 July 1999: I have been asked to reply to your parliamentary question about the environmental assessment of targeting depleted uranium (DU) on dummy armour as such firings were part of a research programme managed by the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) on behalf of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). DU ammunition was last fired at the DERA Eskmeals range at hard targets or dummy armour in September 1995. Public concern about the risk of contamination from DU prompted DERA, in December 1993, to commission an independent study by W S Atkins Environment. The report of the study, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House, concluded that there was no significant risk to the public, site personnel or the environment. The comprehensive environmental monitoring programme, that DERA continues to conduct, confirms that this is still the case. The monitoring reports are all within the public domain; the most recent reports, for 1995/96, were presented to the Environment Agency and local councils at the beginning of last year and further reports will be available to the public in due course as a matter of routine. I hope the above is helpful.

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