HC Deb 02 July 2003 vol 408 cc315-6W
Lynne Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answers from the hon. Member for North Dorset (Mr. Walter), on 3 June 2003,Official Report, column 291W, on depleted uranium (DU), whether all DU weapons will be removed; and whether the land on which they lay will be analysed before it is made available for unrestricted use by the public. [122531]

Mr. Caplin

The unused stocks of depleted uranium (DU) munitions that were available to British Forces during the conflict in Iraq have now been brought back to the United Kingdom.

MOD scientists carried out an initial examination of tanks suspected of having been struck by DU on 22 June. These tanks have been clearly marked up pending further detailed examination by an MOD scientific team. Risk assessments will be conducted on to my answer of 20 June 2003 Official Report, column 510W the entry for BOWMAN in the table printed should read:

each and decisions made on a case-by-case basis on whether to clean them up and remove them or collect them together and fence them off.

At present, surface-lying DU fragments are being removed from the battlefield as they are discovered, and land on which UK Forces fired DU munitions will be analysed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) during its environmental survey of Iraq. In support of the survey, MOD has provided details of UK DU firing locations and has offered to provide advice on carrying out risk assessments on DU within urban areas and on long-term monitoring of DU in the environment, including water. UNEP will make further recommendations once the environmental survey is complete.

Iraqi locals have been warned through Information Operation messages that they should not go near or touch any debris they find on the battlefield.