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October 30, 2014

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Unexploded ordnance survey: London Bridge

Strategic risk advisor 6 Alpha Associates has provided a detailed unexploded ordnance (UXO) risk assessment for Network Rail as part of the five-year, multi-million pound redevelopment of London Bridge station.

London Bridge is the oldest major station in the capital and is currently being rebuilt as part of the £6.5bn Thameslink programme – with a brand new concourse and a redesigned platform layout that will allow a significant increase in services and connections.

However, any major infrastructure project in the capital remains subject to a consistent background risk posed by UXO, says 6 Alpha Associates.

Over 18,000 tonnes of bombs were dropped on London during the Second World War, around 10 per cent of which did not detonate on impact and now pose a significant UXO threat to the safe and timely completion of construction and civil engineering projects of this nature.

Based on the initial historical data obtained from preliminary desktop studies, this detailed assessment evaluated the likelihood of a contractor encountering UXO on site.

The assessment considered a range of factors, including the likelihood of UXO having impacted the site, the possible range of ordnance, including their age, condition and sensitivity, the likely distribution of such threats across the site and the likelihood and potential consequences of initiating UXO as a result of the planned intrusive work.

“UXO discovery and its initiation is a low probability, high impact event,” said Simon Cooke, managing director of 6 Alpha Associates.

“While it’s rare that UXO severely impacts terrestrial construction projects, suitable measures must be taken in the early design phases to assess the risk of encountering a high explosive hazard on site and mitigating that risk.”

SHP November carries a CPD feature from Simon Cooke on the threat posed by UXO in the marine renewable energy sector. The online version will be available on 4 November.

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