Effects of white phosphorus munitions in the environment

Mr Carroll made this Freedom of Information request to Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Defence Science and Technology Laboratory,

I am requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act concerning the firing of the highly toxic incendiary munition white phosphorus (P4).
In the US there are documented cases of this munition used at artillery training ranges poisoning wildfowl. White phosphorus poisoning of Waterfowl in an Alaskan Salt Marsh (1992). The problem has been identified and remediation action has been taking place over a number of years. The US army no longer fires munitions over wetland areas as a consequence.
I would like to ask the DSTL
1 if they are aware of any sites where white phosphorus munitions have been fired in the UK by the British military, where these sites are and if any of these sites are over wetland areas?
2if they have investigated if there is the potential for the munitions to enter watercourses via groundwater systems off these sites?
3if any wildfowl or any other animals in or around these areas have been post mortemed for white phosphorus exposure via gas chromatography analysis for P4?
4 are aware of the potential for secondary poisoning in predators?
5 if they are aware of the impact that this chemical could have should it enter the food chain, potentially to neighbouring farms and landowners? (it was banned as a rat poison in 1990.)
6. they have any remediation strategies or have undertaken any work on any sites to remediate the white phosphorus munitions or have removed any munitions off these sites?

Yours faithfully,

Mr Carroll

Dear Defence Science and Technology Laboratory,

On 14TH April I made the following request to you which has been delayed. Could you please clarify whether you hold the information which I am seeking.

I am requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act
concerning the firing of the highly toxic incendiary munition white
phosphorus (P4).
In the US there are documented cases of this munition used at
artillery training ranges poisoning wildfowl. White phosphorus
poisoning of Waterfowl in an Alaskan Salt Marsh (1992). The problem
has been identified and remediation action has been taking place
over a number of years. The US army no longer fires munitions over
wetland areas as a consequence.
I would like to ask the DSTL
1 if they are aware of any sites where white phosphorus munitions
have been fired in the UK by the British military, where these
sites are and if any of these sites are over wetland areas?
2if they have investigated if there is the potential for the
munitions to enter watercourses via groundwater systems off these
sites?
3if any wildfowl or any other animals in or around these areas have
been post mortemed for white phosphorus exposure via gas
chromatography analysis for P4?
4 are aware of the potential for secondary poisoning in predators?
5 if they are aware of the impact that this chemical could have
should it enter the food chain, potentially to neighbouring farms
and landowners? (it was banned as a rat poison in 1990.)
6. they have any remediation strategies or have undertaken any work
on any sites to remediate the white phosphorus munitions or have
removed any munitions off these sites?

Yours faithfully,

Mr Carroll

Dear Defence Science and Technology Laboratory,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Defence Science and Technology Laboratory's handling of my FOI request 'Effects of white phosphorus munitions in the environment'. I have revceived no reply or acknowledgement of my request which is now delayed.My request was:

I am requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act
concerning the firing of the highly toxic incendiary munition white
phosphorus (P4).
In the US there are documented cases of this munition used at
artillery training ranges poisoning wildfowl. White phosphorus
poisoning of Waterfowl in an Alaskan Salt Marsh (1992). The problem
has been identified and remediation action has been taking place
over a number of years. The US army no longer fires munitions over
wetland areas as a consequence.
I would like to ask the DSTL
1 if they are aware of any sites where white phosphorus munitions
have been fired in the UK by the British military, where these
sites are and if any of these sites are over wetland areas?
2if they have investigated if there is the potential for the
munitions to enter watercourses via groundwater systems off these
sites?
3if any wildfowl or any other animals in or around these areas have
been post mortemed for white phosphorus exposure via gas
chromatography analysis for P4?
4 are aware of the potential for secondary poisoning in predators?
5 if they are aware of the impact that this chemical could have
should it enter the food chain, potentially to neighbouring farms
and landowners? (it was banned as a rat poison in 1990.)
6. they have any remediation strategies or have undertaken any work
on any sites to remediate the white phosphorus munitions or have
removed any munitions off these sites?

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ef...

Yours faithfully,

Mr Carroll

DE Sec Group Mailbox,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Carroll

Please find attached a response to your recent request for information.
<<20100608 Excess Costs Reply U.pdf>>

DE Sec-CS PBFOI 2c

Defence Estates Freedom of Information (FOI)
Defence Estates, Kingston Rd, Sutton Coldfield, B75 7RL

VC206 left an annotation ()

Those @DefenceHQ cost arguments of £600 never come with the calculation of cost that would provide assistance with refinement. Despite being duty bound to provide upto £600 and assistance, they don't.

Mr Carroll left an annotation ()

To VC206 or anyone else who may know, can you help me to "refine my request" in response to the delayed MOD response by identifying the live firing ranges in the UK likely to have used white phosphorus munitions?
I assume the historic ones and ones that have been used the longest would be the most contaminated with this chemical? I could do with knowing for how long these MOD sites have been used, "to refine my request".
Given that at Eagle River Flats in Alaska, dead ducks have been found containing p4 in gizzards over half a kilometre away from the contaminated areas, (therefore being found in non-contaminated areas), to "refine my request" I could do with some information of which live firing ranges,historic or current and likely to have used white phosphorus munitions fall within this range of a wetland area.
Any help on this matter would be appreciated, and let's see what the MOD response is if I can pin them down on these specific sites of interest that I am seeking.
Mr Carroll

VC206 left an annotation ()

I'll send a private message to you so as not to give them a heads up :)

Dear DE Sec Group Mailbox,

Thankyou for your response. I have been asked to refine my request in respect of it incurring excess costs. I would therefore refine my request to "what MOD firing ranges and munitions burning grounds include wetland areas and which of these are SSSI sites?"
Though my original delayed request was to the DSTL and some of the 5 questions are yes or no answers, I would appreciate it if you could explain which of these questions have been deemed to push the threshold over the £600 limit in order that I can refine them further if needed. I trust that Defence Estates is in possession of this information?

Yours sincerely,

Mr Carroll

Dear Defence Science and Technology Laboratory,

Ref 'Effects of white phosphorus munitions in the environment'.
I am sending this follow up email to my email of june 11th which has not been acknowledged. Could you please explain what is the status of this request now given that mt original request to the DSTL was not acknowledged and I requested an internal review.
I was asked to clarify my request and have done so.
E mail of 11th June stated

"Thankyou for your response. I have been asked to refine my request in respect of it incurring excess costs. I would therefore refine my request to "what MOD firing ranges and munitions burning grounds
include wetland areas and which of these are SSSI sites?"
Though my original delayed request was to the DSTL and some of the 5 questions are yes or no answers, I would appreciate it if you could explain which of these questions have been deemed to push the threshold over the £600 limit in order that I can refine them further if needed. I trust that Defence Estates is in possession of this information?

Yours faithfully,

Mr Carroll

DE Sec Group Mailbox,

Dear Mr Carroll,
Thankyou for the clarification below and please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in writing to you again. I am still consulting with colleagues in Defence Estates to see what information can be provided and will provide you with a more substantive response in due course.

Please note that DSTL are no longer the responding authority for this request.

Regards,

DE Sec-Sec PBFOI1

Defence Estates Freedom of Information
Defence Estates, Kingston Rd, Sutton Coldfield, B75 7RL

show quoted sections

DE Sec Group Mailbox,

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Carroll,
Please see the attached.

<<20101021 Final Reply U.pdf>> <<20101019-MOD SSSI list-U.pdf>>

Regards,

DE Sec-Sec PBFOI1
 
Defence Estates Parliamentary Business & Freedom of Information
Defence Estates, Kingston Rd, Sutton Coldfield, B75 7RL
 
 www.defence-estates.mod.uk

Mr Carroll left an annotation ()

Thanks for the advice VC206, I salute you Sir!