Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Huge Clean-Up for Salisbury amid Fear Site May Still Be Contaminated

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Huge Clean-Up for Salisbury amid Fear Site May Still Be Contaminated

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicholas Cecil Deputy Political Editor

A HUGE clean-up operation is being launched in Salisbury at nine sites that may still be contaminated with the Novichok nerve agent used to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Police are handing over the cordonedoff sites to government officials after completing their investigations at the locations after the attempted assassination of former double agent Mr Skripal, using a nerve agent that officials confirmed today was delivered "in a liquid form".

The Government says that Russia was behind the poisoning.

Police officers and security guards will watch the potentially contaminated sites 24 hours a day to stop intruders during the clean-up work, which could take months. Ian Boyd, the Environment Department's chief scientific adviser, who is chairman of the decontamination group overseeing the work, said: "Our number one priority is making these sites safe for the public, so they can be returned to use for the people of Salisbury."

Public Health England said that the risk to the public at the sites is low and the rest of the city was safe.

The nine sites are: The Maltings park area, Zizzi restaurant, the Mill pub, Mr Skripal's house, the home of Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who was also struck down by the nerve agent, two areas of Bourne Hill police station, Salisbury ambulance station, Amesbury ambulance station, and the Ashley Wood compound.

Contamination levels are understood to be low at most of the sites, some of which will be boarded off. Items will be removed for chemical cleaning.

Nearly 200 Army personnel, who are specialists in this work, will be part of the clean-up operation.

A small cordoned area of London Road cemetery, where Mr Skripal's wife and son are buried, was the first area to be reopened to the public today after extensive testing established it was not contaminated. …

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