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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 March 2008, 13:07 GMT
Weapon test move comes under fire
test shell firing at Dundrennan
The testing is the first to be carried out in the area for five years
The environment minister has criticised moves by the Ministry of Defence to carry out depleted uranium weapons testing in south west Scotland.

Mike Russell said the failure to take local opinion into account was "disappointing".

Tank ammunition is being fired at the Dundrennan range in Kirkcudbrightshire for five days this week.

The MoD said the trials were necessary in order to carry out safety checks needed for military operations.

The testing, which started on Monday, is scheduled to last for five days.

After five years without DU shells being fired at Dundrennan, I had hoped these tests had ended - unfortunately not
Alasdair Morgan MSP

The MoD has said that only a small amount of the ammunition will be used and that full monitoring will take place.

Depleted uranium is extremely dense and hard, and is used for armour-piercing bullets or shells.

The latest round of testing is the first to be carried out in the area for five years.

Mr Russell said he was disappointed at the lack of consultation over the move.

"The Scottish Government has not been consulted on this issue and it is clearly disappointing that the MoD has not taken local opinion into account," he said.

South of Scotland SNP MSP Alasdair Morgan said he was also concerned at the decision.

Comprehensive monitoring

"After five years without DU shells being fired at Dundrennan, I had hoped these tests had ended - unfortunately not," he said.

"The firing of depleted uranium shells is of great concern in the local community and could do real harm to the local environment."

Local campaigners also plan to stage a protest in nearby Kirkcudbright against the test firing.

The MoD said comprehensive environmental monitoring had been in place around the military range for several years.

It said the findings were that the DU shells did not pose a significant risk to the environment or people in the area.



SEE ALSO
Depleted uranium tests under way
10 Mar 08 |  South of Scotland
Depleted uranium risk 'ignored'
01 Nov 06 |  Middle East
Man loses depleted uranium action
02 Mar 06 |  Somerset
Inquiry into uranium weapons
14 Mar 02 |  Scotland
DU shell test-firing resumes
21 Feb 01 |  Scotland

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