No more test firing in region

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The Ministry of Defence has confirmed it has no further plans to test fire depleted uranium at the Dundrennan Range near Kirkcudbright.

Fears had been voiced recently by various political figures and campaign bodies over the health effects of such shells being fired onto cliffs and into the Solway Firth, and over alleged loopholes allowing the practice to continue.

Assurances were sought by MP Russell Brown that no further firing would take place locally, and the MP this week received confirmation from defence minister Mark Francois MP that this is the case.

Mr Brown said: “I have previously sought assurances from the MOD that I will be fully informed if they do have any plans to re-start testing of depleted uranium rounds at the Kirkcudbright Range in Dundrennan in the future. I am pleased that the defence minister has confirmed that they currently have no plans.

“If this changes, the local council, myself and local MSPs will be fully informed. Any firing would also have to take place in accordance with procedures set by the Scottish Government’s own agency, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.”

“Irrespective of whether the MOD decide they want to resume test firing at some point in the future, it is absolutely vital that there continues to be regular environmental monitoring involving air and soil sampling in and around the range at Dundrennan to ensure that historic testing has not resulted in any environment or safety issues, as I know this is a real concern for local people.”

In his response, the defence minister strongly refuted the health or environmental risk suggested in some reports.