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County councillor warns of Waterbeach army move

May 28, 2012 11:26 AM

Ministry of Defence plans to move more than 900 Army personnel and their families from Waterbeach to a potentially radioactive air base in Scotland must be put on hold, a Liberal Democrat County Councillor has warned.

The transfer of 39 Engineer Regiment to RAF Kinloss must not go-ahead until a major investigation has been carried out as a matter of urgency, said Cllr Michael Williamson who represents the village.

"This ill-conceived relocation must be stopped until cast iron assurances are given by an independent enquiry that the area is safe," said Cllr Williamson. "These are people's lives and the safety of their children that we are talking about; there can be no half measures.

"Serious concerns have been flagged up about possible radioactive contamination in and around this base. Separate reports say a chemical weapon could be buried there. There are too many unknowns here and until we are absolutely crystal clear that there is no possible risk this transfer must now be allowed to proceed."

It has been reported that land outside RAF Kinloss in Moray could be contaminated by aircraft that were coated in radium and buried at the site.

Other reports suggest that a potentially unstable chemical weapon could be buried beneath the airbase. Officially known as sulphur mustard, the liquid can cause severe burns and cancer when released.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency will investigate the area once the Ministry of Defence has conducted an initial report.

RAF Kinloss stopped functioning as an operational air base last July, after 72 years of service, as part of the government's Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Personnel from 39 Engineer Regiment are due to move from Waterbeach, Cambridge, to Kinloss in July where they will provide engineer support to both the Royal Air Force and the Army.