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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 December 2007, 12:38 GMT
Tests at former mustard gas site
Ruin at Bowes Moor
Evidence of wartime structures remain at Bowes Moor
Environmental tests are to be carried out at a former chemical weapons site in County Durham.

RAF Bowes Moor, near Barnard Castle, was used in the 1940s to store mustard gas, which was burnt off at the end of World War II.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) said the site posed no risk to humans or the environment, but was being tested because of new regulations.

Soil and surface water samples will be taken at the end of January.

It is hoped that the area can be re-developed if the tests confirm the land is safe.

Local councillor Phil Hughes said: "Tourism is important, and the Pennine Way goes right through the site.

"There are an awful lot of above ground structures that look unsightly and it doesn't give a good impression upon entering County Durham.

"You go through this poison gas factory with skull and crossbones signs, and it's really something that should be cleared up."

The tests are expected to take four to six weeks.



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