Work is beginning in Salisbury to decontaminate potentially affected sites for the city and its visitors, say the Ministry of Defence.

On the 12th of April the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) published their report. It confirmed the UK findings: the toxic chemical used in the attempted assassination of Sergei and Yulia Skripal was a military grade nerve agent – a Novichok. The Foreign Secretary gave a statement on the OPCW report.

According to a media release, clean-up work is beginning in Salisbury after the nerve agent attack, to bring a small number of potentially contaminated sites back into safe use for the people of the city and its visitors.

This follows the continuing handover of sites from the police investigation to recovery operations, including The Maltings, the cemetery, Zizzi and the Ashley Wood compound. In total nine sites, three of which are in the city centre, have been identified as requiring some level of specialist cleaning, say the MoD.

“All remaining potentially contaminated sites will remain secured and the current scientific assessment is that the remainder of Salisbury is safe for residents and visitors. Public Health England have reaffirmed that the risk to the general public is low.

Work to clean each site will involve a process of testing, removal of items which may have been contaminated, chemical cleaning and retesting. Sites will not be released back into use until test results and the work undertaken has been reviewed and approved by the government’s decontamination science assurance group.

The work, which is expected to take a number of months, is being planned and overseen by Defra based on expert advice from Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Public Health England, Department for Health and Social Care, Home Office, and Ministry of Defence (MOD). The clean-up operation will be carried out in partnership with Wiltshire Council with support from the MOD, who are providing specialist teams to carry out work on the sites. Around 190 specialist military personnel from the Army and RAF will support the operation.”

Defra’s Chief Scientific Adviser Ian Boyd, who is chair of the decontamination science assurance group overseeing the work, said:

“Our approach is based on the best scientific evidence and advice to ensure decontamination is carried out in a thorough and careful way. Our number one priority is making these sites safe for the public, so they can be returned to use for the people of Salisbury.

Thanks to detailed information gathered during the police’s investigation, and our scientific understanding of how the agent works and is spread, we have been able to categorise the likely level of contamination at each site and are drawing up tailored plans.

Meticulous work is required and we expect it will be a number of months before all sites are fully reopened.”

The nine sites identified are: The Maltings, Zizzi, the Ashley Wood compound, the Mill pub, two areas of Bourne Hill, Salisbury ambulance station, Amesbury ambulance station, the home of the police officer who became unwell following the incident, and the Skripal’s home. The Mill pub and Skripal’s home remain part of the ongoing police investigation.

34 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting to read that an independent Swiss laboratory has reported that this nerve agent was produced in the USA and UK. As with Dr David Kelly and the GCHQ man found dead and locked in a sports bag, the truth will be revealed but not in current lifetimes.

    • I suggest you actually look at the labs response to that Russian propaganda claim before spouting rubbish on here.

    • What is being implied? This batch ‘was produced’ or generic versions of this product have also been produced…. ‘

  2. Notwithstanding the comment above, I really hope that HMG sends a bill to Russia to cover the expenses of the cleanup and the financial damages caused by the quarantine. Perhaps HMG should capture some of Putin’s Ogliarchs as reparations?
    A question I’d like to ask is where did the “independent Swiss lab” get samples or data from the quarantine site, especially when the site is locked down for the OPCW investigators?

    • They were part of the OPCW verification tests, one of the 4 labs used. They also never said anything of the sort claimed by the Russians. Take a look at their Twitter (@SpiezLab).

    • Not nearly as much as many here are amazed by yourself, believe me.

      As for the “GCHQ” man to refer to above, you mean Gareth Williams, and on that subject I agree there are funny things going on in that tragic episode, and with Dr David Kelly.

  3. I would not trust the UK govt. any more than I would trust a bank or estate agent. The whole of this Salisbury thing stinks of being false flag a bit like the WMDs in Iraq. The UK govt. caused the death of 100s there and so are murderers with blood on their hands. That’s why I sent my medals back.

    • When the choice is between what seems so far a fairly calm and official process from the UK and a bombardment of weird and often hilarious cloud of diatribe from the Russians, I’m afraid I have to “trust” my government. Do I think they’re hiding something, yes. I suspect it’s intel sources in Russia though.

    • I hate to bring up Iraq and Tony Blair’s crusade for publicity. But I can catagorically state, we DID find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, just outside of Mosul and at H2 airbase. Ok these weren’t the nukes that Saddam was supposed to have, but they were biological and chemical weapons ie Anthrax and Sarin. There was tons of the stuff, the Sarin had to be mostly burnt on site as it was leaking everywhere. Unfortunately they stored it in some of the Hardened Air Shelters which we bombed thinking there were aircraft in them.
      So to those who say there were no WMDs in Iraq, get back in you box, I was part of the team that had clean up the mess.

  4. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-chemical-attack-gas-douma-robert-fisk-ghouta-damascus-a8307726.html%3famp

    I suggest you all read renowned war correspondent Robert Fisk’s article in the Independent newspaper of London published on Tuesday 17th April,2018. The UK govt. have blood all over their stinking hands and here it is proved. And everyone of you who celebrated 8 British missiles being sent there are celebrating murder. You are continually conned by the rotten UK govt. Grow up and open your eyes! Read it and then deny it! Let the truth have its day. Russia is not an enemy to the UK. I write as a retired service man, who handed in his medals in disgust.

    • I read it. There’s no facts of anything other than Douma is a sad war zone. Yes there are anecdotes about how people have no idea that the so far alleged incident caused an allies strike, but where are the facts that drove your outrage and conviction that this wax perpetrated by the UK?

      ” Syrian colonel I came across behind one of these buildings asked if I wanted to see how deep the tunnels were. I stopped after well over a mile when he cryptically observed that “this tunnel might reach as far as Britain”. Ah yes, Ms May, I remembered, whose air strikes had been so intimately connected to this place of tunnels and dust. And gas.”

      Thats the last couple of sentences and is all I can see that refers to the UK. Rather loose writing if you ask me.

  5. Fascinating stuff Harold. As we all know – well except the bulk of posters here who seek only militarism – the Government are conning is all. Fisk is a renowned and much awarded correspondent. More interesting though if I may be as bold are the words of a former First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy Admiral Alan West whose comments are here – https://www.thecanary.co/trending/2018/04/17/an-ex-british-navy-chief-raises-alarm-bells-about-the-governments-syria-story-live-on-the-bbc/ Only fools accept what the Westminster machine churns out. I also note that an MIT Professor has questioned the US regime over false news regarding this so called chemical incident in Syria. I want a safe UK but this is not the way to go about it. This is setting the country up as a target.

  6. The BBC, that sage haven of paedophilic behaviour and sponge for public money also quietly slid Admiral West’s spoken words to one side when he spoke out. The problem is that the UK Government is scared witless of stepping off US coat tails. There are riots in France over this criminal bombing of Syria. The BBC aren’t reporting that either!

    • Probably because the riots last month were about Macro’s broken promises not the yet to happen Syria strikes.
      You’d have been better off referencing the stop the war coalitions protest outside Downing St. There were dozens of them! Dozens of say!

      Oh and as for Fisk, have a Google. A lot of people dispute most of what he says on pretty much everything.

  7. @SteveM You are as bad as the tabloid press You have deleted the question mark after ‘And gas?’ Do you work for the British civil service per chance? If you are going to cut and paste, at least do it honestly. And has? No there was none!

    • No sadly I don’t, I’d love the pension though. I just have trouble with my select all option on my mobile phone. Nothing very sexy about that I’m afraid.

  8. MIT expert claims latest chemical weapons attack in Syria was staged
    A leading weapons academic has claimed that the Khan Sheikhoun nerve agent attack in Syria was staged, raising questions about who was responsible.

    Theodore Postol, a professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), issued a series of three reports in response to the White House’s finding that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad perpetrated the attack on 4 April.

    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/mit-expert-claims-latest-chemical-100819428.html

    • So you have 5 people referenced who say it was staged.
      I could probably find find twice that who say it wasn’t staged in short order using a search engine.
      I can probably find 6 conspiracy theorists who say it was done by the Disney Corp in league with the Illuminati if I search the deep web.

      I stick with the adage…if it waddles, has webbed feet, quacks and looks like a duck then I am 99% sure that it is a duck. 99% is close enough for beyond reasonable doubt. In civil court, aggravating circumstances only have to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, as opposed to beyond reasonable doubt (as they do in criminal court).

  9. TH how come you are happy to take one source with clear and obvious risk of bias built into it with clear conflict of interest ( being paid) over an international organisation with clear governance around conflict of interest. I don’t mind people having different views but use a robust methodology in forming your views.

  10. Enter a new scenario, a toy drone could have more weaponised nerve agent than that probably used in Salisbury, even a modified firework rocket could dissipate it over a crowed cityspace. We are now entering a very frightening and fragile scenario. I think it is high time all citizens in the UK were made to carry ID cards with stored biometric data, CCTV in stores and public places should be forced to user higher definition TV camera sensors and all public CCTV systems (a shop is a public space) should be linked via an IP port to a central registry so that Police can have quicker access to the data. The reaction time of the CBRN teams and their inability to work out what was happening in this incident is questionable and should be the focus of a public enquiry.

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