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Transport at highest risk of terror attack

News :

SECURITY WAS this week tightened to protect the UK's transport infrastructure from terrorist attack.

It is feared that terrorists will strike UK targets in retaliation for the military campaign, launched on Sunday, against Afghanistan's Taliban government and the militant al-Qaida organisation.

A British Transport Police spokesman said UK intelligence sources had identified transport infrastructure as a major risk.

Organisations contacted by NCE would not reveal full details of measures in place but police in London are known to have focused attention on tunnels and bridges close to the City.

The British Transport Police have put more officers on duty at main line stations which, a Railtrack spokesman said, are considered at higher risk than track, tunnel, bridges or signals.

All passengers travelling through the Channel Tunnel on Eurostar services must now pass through a metal detecting arch and all luggage is x-rayed. 'We have increased security to 100% screening, which is not normal, ' said a Eurostar UK spokesman.

All cars and lorries using Eurotunnel services are now visually inspected and a random selection are x-rayed.

London Underground staff are already trained to cope with emergencies including fire, bomb and gas attack, said a spokeswoman. 'All situations are well rehersed.'

The Highways Agency told NCE it did not believe the UK motorway and trunkroad network, road bridges or tunnels were likely targets.

Meanwhile, UK nuclear installations have been put on amber alert and policing of the secure compounds owned by BNFL and British Energy has been stepped up. Staff are screened and nonessential visits cancelled.

British Energy said that all UK reactors were built to cope with nuclear explosion, making them all but immune to external terrorist attack.

However, a British Atomic Agency spokesman claimed this week that while nuclear reactors were designed to withstand earthquakes, small plane strikes and hurricanes, no one had ever assessed the threat from the impact of large civilian aircraft.

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