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Ground investigation firms call for better regulation of bomb disposal


LACK OF regulation in detection and disposal of buried unexploded ordnance is fuelling widespread scaremongering, ground investigation firms claimed last month.

They called for minimum standards for site investigations and licensing of bomb detection equipment to safeguard the reputation of the industry.

It is estimated that by the end of the Second World War 68,500t of bombs had been dropped in the UK. Of these 200,875 exploded and 25,195 failed to detonate.

Most bomb disposal work is carried out by ex-military personnel, while site investigations that include bomb surveys are usually carried out by professionally trained geophysicists.

Ground investigation firms say there has been a crossover of the work carried out by the two parties.

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

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

But Navy-trained bomb disposal expert Mike Fellows said 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, ' he said.

Non-ferrous ordnance was often undetected as instru mentation used for most site investigations use magnetic sensors, Fellows said.

Sainsbury said the probability of fi nding non-ferrous ordnance in the ground was very low.

Ciria, developers and ground investigation firms were due to meet as GE went to press to discuss how to develop a best practice document.

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

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