More than once, on Ayr beach, I’ve spotted disturbing cylindrical, metallic objects washed up after a storm. The local media often warn us of the dangers of what are described as chemical weapons dumped in Beaufort’s Dyke in the Irish Channel between South-West Scotland and Northern Ireland, where Boris would have us sink piles for his Union Bridge.
Based on their own Freedom of Information request, they tell us:
This dumping went on for decades after World War I, including periods of Labour government.
What could more clearly demonstrate London’s contempt for us? Oh, well, Trident, the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing in Cumbria, Anthrax testing on Gruinard island of the West Coast of Scotland?
Strangely, the Herald seems to have missed a more detailed and damning account in New Scientist first published in 1995 and updated last year. Two extracts chill:
In the past month, more than 4500 incendiary bombs from the Second World War have washed up on beaches around the west coast of Scotland. They are made of phosphorus, benzene and cellulose, and were designed to ignite on contact with air. Four-year-old Gordon Baillie picked one up while playing in his uncle’s garden near Campbeltown on the Mull of Kintyre. It burnt his hand and leg, and made his clothes smoke. The phosphorus bombs are the clearest warning so far of the dangers of using the sea as a dump for military waste. The bombs were dropped into the North Channel between Scotland and Northern Ireland fifty years ago, but are now washing up on land and starting to burn. Worryingly, the phosphorus bombs are just a tiny fraction of the 1.15 million tons (1.17 million tonnes) of conventional and chemical weapons known to have been dumped in the sea around Britain since the Second World War. They could be the heralds of more to come.
Discovery of the first phosphorus bombs on 6 October at Saltcoats on the Firth of Clyde prompted a major cleanup operation. Every day for the following two weeks army bomb disposal teams picked up hundreds of them along the length of the Clyde coastline, round the Mull of Kintyre and on the islands of Arran, Islay, Jura and Gigha. Children were told to keep away from the beaches, farmers advised not to gather seaweed for fertiliser, and warning signs appeared on beaches. At first, the Ministry of Defence insisted that the bombs had no “UK military origin”, and that no evidence existed that they had ever been dumped at sea. But after a cross-party group of Scottish MPs met defence secretary, Michael Portillo, the story changed. On 2 November, the MoD admitted that the devices came from decayed 30 pound (13.6 kilogram) incendiary bombs of a type dropped from British aircraft in the Second World War.