HC Deb 11 July 2002 vol 388 c1133W
Mr. Dismore

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the findings of the recent survey of the Inglis Barracks site, Mill Hill, of low level radiation. [68668]

Dr. Moonie

An environmental survey was started on 4 July 2002 at Mill Hill to check for radioactive contamination on land that previously belonged to the Ministry of Defence. The first stage was a walk-over survey with meters to check for any radiological activity. Only two small areas meriting further investigation were found. These were on the Barnet council depot/MOD boundary and in open space in the vicinity of Notting Hill Housing Group flats. The risk to the general public is considered very low and no immediate action or special precautions are necessary.

Starting on Monday 15 July, trial pits will be dug and bore holes drilled for taking soil samples. The results from analysis of the samples will be used to decided what remedial action may be necessary.

The survey is a precautionary measure following a previous Land Quality Assessment of the military site at Mill Hill that identified low levels of radioactivity in a small area in the centre of the site. This activity arises from the residues of luminous paint buried in the ground. Radium based luminous paint was commonly applied to items such as vehicle dials during the second world war as well as on a wider commercial basis for watches and clock faces up to the late 1960s. The MOD intends to remove the contaminated material from Mill Hill, as it has successfully done from other sites, such as the former Admiralty Compass Observatory at Ditton Park, Slough, now sold and re-developed.

The survey is being undertaken jointly by Barnet borough council and the MOD, working with Annington Homes, Notting Hill Housing Group and the Environment Agency. Residents are being kept informed through mail drops and a telephone help line. An on-site information office was open during the walk-over survey. The results of the survey work will be shared with residents.

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