M.O.D. AT FOULNESS
OUR NEW M.P. - MEETING
RISE IN NOISE LEVELS
BURNING BARMINES
CRYOFRACTURE SOLUTION?
A YEARS VIBRATION TEST
PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE
VISIT TO FOULNESS
THREE COUNCIL'S MEET
M.P.'S REPORT BACK
A FURTHER MEETING
SUPPORT FOR ACTION
ANOTHER RESOLUTION
'VIBROCK' TESTS
MINISTER REJECTS MEETING
OUR M.P. ACTS
NEXT ACTION TAKEN
TENDRING MOTION
PARISH COUNCIL ACTS


A NEW PROCESS TO DESTROY MUNITIONS
'CRYOFRACTURE'


On Thursday 23rd November 2006 the Ministry of Defence base at Shoeburyness, now run for the Ministry by QinetiQ, opened their doors to the BBC Look East television cameras and other media sources, such as ITV, BBC Radio Essex and newspapers like the Southend Evening Echo.

One of those invited was our own St Osyth News and the temporary Editor Barbara King (left, covering the job whilst Rosemary and Mark are in New Zealand). She attended and used the opportunity to ask lots of questions of relevance to our problems and intends to write an article for the February edition of our Parish magazine.

The visit arose following an announcement that a new process called CryoFracture was being investigated as a means of disposing of most types of munitions, which are currently destroyed by explosive means at the base.

The explosions thus created have over the last very many years brought distress to residents in the Thames Estuary Area, the whole of which has been blighted by these activities with properties in Tendring and in our own Parish of St Osyth, being shaken to their foundations by the more explosive activities on the base.

The worst of these activities will cause windows to break, walls to crack, ornaments to fall off shelves, make family pets howl and hide in corners shaking with fright, elderly residents are distressed and burglar alarms and car alarms are set off when the vibrations literally shake everything in the area.

Compensation has been paid to property owners by the ministry in the past, usually with a ‘no liability accepted’ type statement, but in later years, particularly since QinetiQ took over, we are only aware of claims for compensation being treated in a cavalier fashion with total rejection and a denial of any liability, but NO offer of even an ex gratia payment in it place!  The official result of the yearlong test conducted recently was that “No vibration to properties in the area was sufficient to cause even cosmetic damage!” In other words – 400,000 residents just imagine it!!

We must all bear in mind the extent of the problem when in answer to a parliamentary question the Minister of Defence said there were 35,000 individual explosive and gunfire events at Shoeburyness in the previous year (which was 2001/2)

This new CryoFracture process involves freezing the munitions with liquid nitrogen down to a temperature of about -130 degrees centigrade, so that the explosive casing becomes very brittle and then using specially designed machinery, in an area protected from any possible explosion, the casing will fracture into many pieces when pressure is applied, releasing the ‘explosive material’, which can then be burnt in a special kiln or treated chemically to neutralise the explosive. Previously if the munitions casing was degraded it was too dangerous to remove the ‘explosive agents’, so the munitions were exploded in their casing as a means of destruction.



On the House of Commons balcony Sidge Kenny left,
Michael Talbot and John White extreme right.


Our Councillor Michael Talbot was asked to take part in the television programme, as along with his colleague John White they have both pressed the case with neighbouring councils, MP’s and other action groups seeking the cessation of these destructive explosions at Shoeburyness. They have met with other groups from Whitstable and Herne Bay, had meetings at the House of Commons and visited the base at Shoeburyness to lodge their protests on behalf of residents.
Councillor Talbot said:
“If this new process really brings to an end those days of violent explosions with subsequent vibrations to our properties currently suffered in St Osyth, every time they decide to explode another thirty or forty bombs placed in a hole in the ground, then I wish them every success!!  I think they forget sometimes that we are only 15 miles away across the estuary”.

The process has been developed in America, but here in the UK it will be a question of funding the infrastructure to conduct this destruction of spent munitions by CryoFracture. Lets all hope funding is provided so that we can live a normal life unaffected by the MOD’s activities at Shoeburyness!



Councillor Michael Talbot being interviewed for the BBC by Helena Wilkinson 
in Western Promenade, where Mr Roger Eady (pictured right) had shown
her his property cracks, which had then been filmed a few moments earlier.

28/11/06.


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