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Gruinard Island: Cost Of Decontamination

Volume 476: debated on Thursday 12 June 1986

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3.25 p.m.

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated cost of decontaminating the island of Gruinard from the residues of anthrax used in experiments during World War II.

My Lords, the cost of decontaminating Gruinard Island is estimated at up to £500,000.

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for his reply. If the island is to become available soon, after more than 40 years, and its future use is to be considered could it not provide the answer to a pressing current problem? Would it not be a perfect permanent site for the hippies who are now having great difficulty in finding one? There are no farmers or neighbours to be upset. Pop concerts could be continuous and the hippies are less likely than other people to be bothered by any remaining germs.

My Lords, it is our intention, once the island is safe, to offer the island back to the original owner from whom it was purchased in 1947. What he would say about the prospect of continuous pop concerts, I am not sure.

My Lords, if the owner agrees, how would they get there—by helicopter?