Minutes of secret meetings released under freedom of information law reveal that the MoD was worried about breaching an inter-government agreement on marine pollution by firing depleted uranium (DU) tank rounds into the sea from a military range at Dundrennan near Kirkcudbright.
But officials found a way round the problem, by arguing that the munitions were not being “dumped” in the sea, but “placed” there. This is despite the fact that attempts to retrieve them have failed, and their locations are unknown.
Campaigners have accused the MoD of desperately resorting to “semantic trickery” to justify its plans to dump more DU weapons in Scottish waters. Based on past practice, the MoD will restart test-firing at Dundrennan this year, they say.
In the last 30 years, army tanks have fired more than 6,700 shells into the Solway Firth from the range, containing nearly 30 tonnes of DU. The shells pierce canvas targets set up on the cliff tops, and then plunge into the sea.