Some interesting finds last week from one of our target investigation teams working on a former RAF airfield near Cambridge.

In 2018, 1st Line Defence were commissioned the undertake a non-intrusive survey of the airfield following a risk assessment which identified a potential of encountering buried and discarded munitions as a result of the former military use of the facility. The data from the survey was processed, interpreted and modeled, and a number of anomalies/targets were listed for further investigation. This old burn pit/disposal area was found and carefully excavated by our team revealing a myriad of finds from small arms ammunition to barometric fuzes, incendiary casings and flares. It is an interesting example of the poor ‘housekeeping’ that we commonly encounter when working on old military airfields, with unwanted and unused ordnance regularly lost, burnt, buried or otherwise discarded. Historical research helps identify what types of UXO might be found, and can assist with recognising areas of greater or lesser likelihood of contamination. However, it is still often surprising the random places that contamination can be encountered.

If you are planning to develop or work on former military land, we always recommend considering the possibility of encountering UXO, and to ensure that a Detailed UXO Risk Assessment is undertaken as early as possible.