Today, Kate Hollern MP for Blackburn and shadow defence minister raised safety concerns regarding the removal of trained safety wardens from Ministry of Defence live ammunition ranges, as reported in the Guardian today.
Range wardens are trained for a minimum of three years and devoted to keeping the public and military personnel safe.
In an urgent letter to Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, Hollern said “This led directly to the recent incident where a group of Gurkha soldiers using the ranges at Hythe in Kent walked down the range they were using to the foreshore, not realising that the firing range next to them was still being used, and that they were, therefore, in the arc of fire,”
“I am sure you will agree this was a very serious incident, which could have resulted in one or more of those soldiers being injured or killed, an incident which would clearly have been prevented had a range warden been in place to monitor the users’ behaviour and stop any unsafe movements.
“It is clear that there is a tragic and avoidable accident waiting to happen, and I would respectfully request you to look into this issue as a matter of the utmost urgency and seriousness.”
Hollern has also called for an immediate reversal of the decision to move wardens from their position and for a full and proper safety assessment into the issue.