bomb damage c/o Associated Press|
Inside Out investigates how
developers are ignoring the risks posed by unexploded wartime bombs in the race
to rebuild the North's industrial cities.
Experts say piledrivers being
used extensively in cities like Hull and Sheffield could set off lost' bombs buried
since air raids in the 1940s.
In the last decade, more than a dozen of
people have died in similar incidents on mainland Europe.
or ground penetrating radar can find buried bombs but they are expensive and many
developers choose not to use them.
Bomb disposal contractor Mike Sainsbury
told Inside Out:
"We all accept that at some point someone
is going to hit a bomb with a drilling rig or a piling rig, and there will be
an incident. It is quite possible for a pile to strike a bomb and then cause it
"Until there is an incident and someone is killed from
striking a UXB there won't be any real legislation or any real movement to make
this work routine."
Out researchers found documents that suggest an unexploded wartime bomb may be
buried beneath a major new redevelopment in Hull.
Developers of The Boom
- a £100m leisure and housing complex described in promotional literature
as "an explosive experience in urban living" - were unaware of the document,
which was freely available in the local archives.
The company told Inside
Out it had been planning a survey to check the site and would carry out underground
checks if necessary - but the programme found many developers had not checked
the ground before piling.
Many sites are being redeveloped for only the
second time since the war and most post war building did not involve deep piling.
of the soft ground on the banks of the Humber Estuary, piles must be driven up
to 16 metres to bedrock. Bombs have been found as deep as 8 metres.
Across the North Sea, screening sites in target areas is compulsory.
Rotterdam, which was heavily bombed by the Germans as well as the RAF and
USAF, checks every site and taxpayers' expense.
City engineer Jauko Mutsaers
says, "They were designed to kill people and they were designed to do damage
you can't determine if they are still active.
"One small shock might
set them off. If you go into the ground with piles or you start moving the ground
to make room for buildings
you might set off a bomb."
of Hull's St Stephens Centre, ING, are based in the Netherlands, but they told
Inside Out they had not felt it necessary to carry out ground radar or magnetometer
They said a study of databases and historical records found there
was a "low to moderate risk" of UXBs being present on the site.
said workers were being warned of the possibility and were being told what to
do if a suspicious object was found.
The company said half the piling work
on the site - next door to Hull's main railway station, a major wartime target
- had already been completed without incident.
the Blitz, one in ten German bombs did not go off and in one night bomb disposal
crews in Hull had to deal with 400 duds.
It's thought many which fell on
existing bombsites were never found at the time.
Others were "abandoned"
as too difficult to recover and left where they lay.
There is an official
list help by the army but the Ministry of Defence refused to release it to the
BBC when Inside Out used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain it.
Out was told there was no guarantee it was accurate and its publication may cause
Hull City Council said that as a result of the BBC's findings,
it would review its policies on the bomb risk.
Councillor Kath Lavery said:
"There is a small risk but what you have to understand
is that developers these days have to through a process call due diligence processes
both for themselves and for their funders
they are in fact well aware of
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