November 21, 2022 3.30 pm This story is over 12 months old

MoD warning to wildlife enthusiasts heading to Donna Nook

Warning about the dangers of accessing the site

The Ministry of Defence is urging all wildlife enthusiasts heading to Donna Nook Air Weapons Range in Lincolnshire to see baby seals to be vigilant of military debris and unexploded ordnance.

Thousands of grey seals are expected to descend on the beaches of Donna Nook and the nearby coastline during November and December to give birth.

This attracts wildlife enthusiasts from across the UK who will scramble across the dunes to witness this natural wonder.

An inquisitive looking seal at RAF Donna Nook. | Photo: Crown Copyright/MOD 2022

However, areas of Donna Nook and land in close proximity is owned by the MoD. As well as being home to historical military activity, the site, including inland and beach locations is still used for live firing and tactical training activities.

These activities pose a safety risk to the enteral public. The MoD is specifically keen to highlight the very real danger of disturbing military debris including unexploded ordnance.

Items that are fired, dropped, discarded or buried can be inadvertently disturbed by walkers, ramblers and dogs, sometimes with unintended consequences.

Two spent 3kg bombs near one of the targets at RAF Donna Nook. | Photo: Crown Copyright/MOD 2022

Lt Col Andy Hough, Regional Commander for the East of England, said “The pupping season presents a wonderful opportunity for members of the public to explore unique areas of the Defence Estate at Donna Nook and the surrounding region.

“We recognise the huge benefit to mental and physical well-being that outdoor recreation can have when safe to do so.

“Due to its location and historical and active engagement with military activity, debris does often wash up with the tide, or remain in situ after air delivered training. Many of these items can be extremely dangerous.

“If members of the public spot anything we ask them to report it, never touch it. This includes keeping dogs on a lead and paying special attention to what they might pick up off the floor”

To highlight the danger, Lt Col Hough was keen to share a recent incident that took place, adding: “Just a few months ago a member of the public carried a piece of munitions debris from the beach to hand over to my colleagues.

“What they considered an act of diligence, put their life at risk. Had an item exploded it would have undoubtedly led to a fatality.”

A small minority of people also deliberately search out and remove ordnance as a hobby, with some even selling what they find to collectors.

He added: “Deliberate removal of UXO is not only dangerous, it’s also against the law. We encourage anybody considering removing and selling UXO to stop and think about the danger they are putting themselves in.”

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