Campaign against the Faldingworth explosions nuisance

Detailed information about the Faldingworth site:

The following information is all in the public domain, and is collected here merely for convenience.

Who has been operating Faldingworth?

Faldingworth base (Spridlington Road, Faldingworth, LN8 3SQ) was originally an RAF station. During the cold war, it was fitted out as a state-of-the-art nuclear storage facility with a massive complex of underground bunkers (much information online, for instance here). After the cold war these facilities were no longer needed, and the site was operated as a testing and storage facility by BAE, passing via the private company Unibay to its present ownership.

Who is now operating Faldingworth?

The present operation is run by one Richard M Briggs. Mr Briggs had a company called Skydock, and the Skydock logo is still to be seen discreetly on the gates of the site (although the Unibay sign is also still in place). A general impression is given that the site is still run by Skydock, but this cannot be the case as, according to Companies House, Skydock was dissolved in September 2005. Mr Briggs appears to be obsessed with the idea of secrecy; when asked how long he’s owned the site he replies “I’m afraid I can’t tell you that” – as if there was some very important official secret reason why this could not be disclosed. A quick search at the Land Registry, however, shows that the site was purchased in September 2003 by Hessle Dock Company Limited; there is no obvious reason why this information should have been treated by Mr Briggs as if it was some sort of state secret.

Hessle Dock Company is a small company with two directors (Mr Briggs and Jayne Briggs), registered in March 2003, unquoted on the Stock Exchange, but with share capital; as this is clearly a multi-million pound operation requiring considerable capital, it would be extremely interesting to know who the other shareholders may be. When this company was formed, by the way, it was called Fonesite Ltd, but the name was changed almost instantly to Hessle Dock Company (possibly also the result of Mr Briggs’s secrecy obsession).

This company has no website but, curiously, Mr Briggs registered the domain in April 2007, nearly two years after Skydock had ceased to exist; the domain had already been registered by his friend Louise Thomas, in April 2005. Louise Thomas, of course, runs the business “Bomb-Proof Horses” from the Faldingworth site, supplying horses which are trained not to respond to loud noises produced by (for instance) explosives testing sites, or low-flying helicopters ferrying goods in and out of such sites. She also runs a manicure business called “Nailed On”.

What is being done at Faldingworth?

This varies according to when you ask. Sometimes this is (we are told) a major multi-million pound testing site, at other times it is merely disposing of illicit contraband fireworks. It has been said that no explosions take place underground because there is no underground facility, despite the fact that details of the huge bunker complex are available all over the web, and the structural damage reportedly done to property would suggest some underground firings.

Certainly Mr Briggs sub-contracts work out to other firms, such as Ordnance Test Solutions. A certain middling level of nuisance has gone on for years; many people have observed what seems to be ammunition being destroyed on bonfires, with accompanying palls of thick toxic-looking smoke. It has been claimed that these are fireworks, but the range standing orders from Ordnance Test Solutions states in the very first paragraph: “The destruction of ammunition and explosives whether carried out by demolition or burning is inherently dangerous ” – so we know that ammunition is being destroyed (presumably burning it is much simpler and cheaper than dismantling it properly). But who are we to complain? We only have to breathe the result.

Mr Briggs claims that the loud explosions have been going on since before 1990, but many people who have lived here for a long time will testify that this is not true, and that the present very loud, window-rattling explosions have only happened in the last three years or so (ie since Mr Briggs took over the site).

Are the operations at Faldingworth helping “our boys in Iraq”?

No, of course they aren’t. This is emotional claptrap designed to stop you thinking. Lead-times on MOD projects are typically years; “our boys” will be long gone from Iraq by the time anything Mr Briggs is dealing with reaches the front line. On Look North, a photograph of a blown-up landrover was belatedly produced, supposedly to justify this nuisance. One of our residents logged over forty explosions that week. We should like to ask Mr Briggs: are you claiming to have blown up forty landrovers in that time? Or did it take you forty goes to blow up one landrover?

Even if all this were true, should it be taking place at Faldingworth?

No, of course not. Mr Briggs handles work contracted out to him by the MOD. This work could just as easily be handled on some of the many thousands of acres still under MOD requisition (Salisbury Plain, Northumberland etc etc). In conversation, Mr Briggs almost gives the impression of being a charity dedicated to the welfare of soldiers; but in actuality, Mr Briggs is merely a businessman in a profitable line of business making a very great deal of money, in this case by exploiting our convenience.

This is not the MOD. This is nothing with any authority. This is just one bloke making money. We don’t have to put up with it!