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Best practice sought for bomb clearance

News

LACK OF regulation in the detection and disposal of underground unexploded ordnance is fuelling widespread scaremongering, ground investigation specialists claimed this week.

Concerns have been raised over the competence of exmilitary bomb disposal experts setting themselves up as site investigators.

'The ex-military guys are going into areas of expertise where they lack the specialist knowledge, ' said Mike Sainsbury, managing director of site investigation company Zetica.

The result, he believes, is that clients and consultants are being misled about bomb disposal issues.

But bomb disposal expert Mike Fellows, who trained with the Royal Navy, said that many site investigation companies were clearing ordnance without sufficient practical training.

'These companies will find the bombs, but will blow them up when they do, ' said Fellows.

He added that non-ferrous ordnance was often undetected because instrumentation used in most site investigations relied on magnetic sensors.

Sainsbury and other site investigation experts said the probability of finding nonferrous ordnance in the ground was very low, however.

Next week construction research body CIRIA is to meet developers and ground investigation experts to discuss how to develop a best practice document.

'People from housebuilders to major clients like Crossrail desperately want guidance on assessing the risk [of unexploded bombs], ' said CIRIA contaminated land programme manager Joanne Kwan.

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