Falklands’ minefield clearance next phase moves to the capital Stanley Common
Falkland Islands’ next phase of minefield clearance will take place in Stanley Common greatly increasing the Islands’ capital recreational area was announced by Government House reports the latest Penguin News edition.
The decision was taken after last week’s visit by a team from the Foreign Office and following consultations with Falklands’ Members of the Legislative Assembly.
According to PN the next phase of minefield clearance in the Falklands will cost less, be less environmentally intrusive and will increase Stanley’s public use area to the days before the Argentine invasion of 1982.
That was the message from Government House last week by the visiting scoping team headed by Richard Lindsay of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The accomplished intention of the three-man team, which also includes consultant Alistair Craib and Lt Colonel Peter Sonnex of the Ministry of Defence, was to find a site for the next phase in the process which began last year with the clearance of four areas, two in Camp and two around Stanley.
A first target for the group was the Murrell Peninsula but, after consultation with MLAs, the decision has been taken to work on the Stanley Common as an area of greater interest and more likely public use
It is hoped that the completion of the next phase will return much of Stanley Common to public use, including giving access to the stone corral, the coastal ponds and the area known as Goose Green, all of which were popular for recreation in the days before the 1982 war.
What is planned was described by Mr Lindsay as “land relief.”
This basically involves pushing back the fences around areas which were designated as minefields and might contain some unexploded ordnance, but are not expected to contain mines.
As mine-lifting is not anticipated, there will be less environmental impact on the areas searched and a reduced requirement for both personnel and funding, said Mr Lindsay, who added that resources for this phase of the project were “finite.”
On the team’s return to the UK an invitation to tender will be put together. Until a successful tender has been accepted it is not possible to know the nationality of the personnel involved, nor the exact technology that they will use.
Legislative Assembly Member Sharon Halford said she was delighted Stanley Common had been chosen over the Murrell Peninsula.
Stanley had been growing greatly in recent years but the available recreational space for its population had not.