Ministry of Defence
Defence Secretary announces £11million boost to chemical defences
On the eve of the Salisbury Novichok poisoning anniversary, the Defence Secretary has allocated £11million of additional funding to bolster the UK’s response to chemical attacks.
The range of measures announced by the Defence Secretary include:
- Developing plans to deploy drones and robots into potentially hazardous areas, putting personnel in less danger and identifying threats faster.
- Boosting the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s ability to analyse substances, by investing in new technical capabilities.
- Keeping the UK at the forefront of medical advances to combat the effects of chemical agents.
The decision means the UK will remain a global leader in Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) defence. Around the world, there is evidence of these threats increasing and it is vital the UK can meet them.
Last year, the Syrian regime launched chemical attacks on its own people, which led to the UK striking several weapons facilities alongside American and French partners. At home, the UK has seen the longest chemical clean-up in living memory, in Salisbury and Amesbury.
Unmanned vehicles will conduct more testing and identification, decreasing the risk posed to humans through contact with nerve agents. This capability will be developed over the coming years.
The funding will increase the speed and accuracy with which the potential origins of substances can be analysed, helping the authorities identifying attackers faster and improving public safety.
It will also allow faster decontamination and recovery of vehicles and assets, as well as improvements to counter radiological and nuclear threats.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson recently (03 March 2019) said:
After the Novichok attack in Salisbury a year ago, the nation turned to the Armed Forces and expert scientists. From the investigation to the clean-up, the military and everyone involved in the operation have worked tirelessly to decontaminate the streets of Salisbury.
Britain and its allies have also demonstrated that they will take a stand against the use of chemical weapons, from the sanctions enforced on Russia following the reckless use of Novichok to the strikes against the chemicals used by Syrian regime.
We recognise we need resilience to face evolving threats which is why we have invested £11million into ensuring we have a world-leading capability.
Standing Joint Commander (UK) Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch recently (03 March 2019) said
The decontamination work in Salisbury and Amesbury over the last 12 months has been a complex and daunting challenge for the Armed Forces.
All of the personnel involved demonstrated adaptability, professionalism, resilience and courage; they have been absolutely first-class and lived up to their world-leading reputation. This investment will allow us to further improve our expertise and, most importantly, keep the public safe.
This funding will be available in the new financial year and invested straight into programmes that will benefit DSTL scientists and the Armed Forces. It is in addition to the £48million announced by the Defence Secretary last year to develop a new Chemical Weapons Defence Centre.
Latest News from
Ministry of Defence
Visions for Strategic Command outlined during inaugural RUSI Conference20/02/2020 15:15:15
Defence leaders have laid out their vision for the UK’s new Strategic Command, putting cyber security and new technologies at the heart of the military.
Inaugural Strategic Command RUSI Conference20/02/2020 11:15:00
Exploring the vision, ambitions and challenges for Strategic Command (UKStratCom).
Military deploys to provide flood relief during Storm Dennis17/02/2020 12:15:00
British Army personnel have deployed to assist civil authorities with the provision of flood relief to local communities in West Yorkshire
United Kingdom Security Vetting (UKSV): our latest updates13/02/2020 10:15:00
Over recent months MOD has been working to review and update our guidance and information in relation to National Security Vetting.
Royal visit to meet patients and staff at Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre12/02/2020 12:33:00
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall along with Prince Williams and the Duchess of Cambridge met with patients and staff at Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) Stanford Hall.
£1m fund for innovative waste oils recycling technology revealed12/02/2020 10:15:00
Defence Minister unveils DASA and RAF contract winners to develop novel technique that could save money and help the environment
Armed Forces heroes celebrated at The Sun Military Awards10/02/2020 10:15:10
The Millies are awarded for inspiring individual and collective achievements from within the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.
First UK night flights land in HMS Queen Elizabeth07/02/2020 12:15:00
Four F-35 Lightning jets have completed night landings in HMS Queen Elizabeth flying over UK waters on operational training.
Vice Chief of the Defence Staff signs future force development charter to reaffirm UK/US defence relationship06/02/2020 10:15:00
The United Kingdom’s Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Tim Fraser, and his US counterpart General John Hyten, have signed a bilateral Charter, confirming their nations’ commitment to working together to tackle global security concerns.