Highlands & Islands

Radiological tests at Nairn quarry for WW2 aircraft

Whitley bombers Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bombers flew from Kinloss along the coast from Nairn in WW2

Tests for radioactive contamination will be done at a quarry following suggestions military aircraft were buried there after World War Two.

The former Kingsteps Quarry at Nairn will be examined for the remains of aircraft instruments which were illuminated using radioactive paint.

Highland Council, which owns the site, said the tests followed "word of mouth" suggestions of buried planes.

The tests will be done on 18 and 19 April.

In 2013 at Kinloss and Findhorn, along the Moray Firth coast from Nairn, testing for radioactive contamination from WW2 aircraft was started.

It is thought more than a 1,000 aircraft were broken up, burned and buried near an RAF station at Kinloss.

Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bombers were among the aircraft that flew from the site during the war.

'Potential contamination'

William Gilfillan, Highland Council's director of community services, said the test at Nairn were a precautionary measure.

He said: "There have been word-of mouth accounts of planes being deposited in the quarry but no documentation has been found to support this.

"The surveys will also check that any potential contamination from historical activities in the area does not pose an unacceptable risk to human health.

"Residents have requested that more could be done to encourage access in this area and carrying out these surveys will contribute to an understanding of the site that will inform future decision-making."

Mr Gilfillan added: "The survey results will be analysed - and if required - appropriate actions will be taken to remediate the area for continued public access."

Image copyright Handout
Image caption Two mortar bombs were found at Nairn's East Beach three years ago

The remains of other war-time activity have been found in and around Nairn in recent years.

Two mortar bombs were discovered at the town's East Beach in March 2012 and were disposed of by bomb disposal experts.

Nairn's beaches were used to prepare soldiers and sailors for the Allied landings in Normandy in June 1944.

Military personnel were based at nearby Fort George at the time.

The remains of tanks used in the rehearsals have previously been found further east along the coast from Nairn.

A Valentine tank was lost by the Royal Hussars at Culbin Forest and two others in Burghead Bay.

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