Portsdown Hill radar station ‘no threat to human health’, says MP

Jonathan Melling from the Elliott Group, inside the current Arundel Court Primary School hall

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A MILITARY radar system on Portsdown Hill poses no risk to human health, a member of parliament has said.

Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery visited the facility run by QinetiQ and met staff following concerns from a parish council in his constituency about radiation coming from the site.

Mr Hollingbery made the trip to find out more about the work there and if there was any risk to people living nearby. The site is conducting trials on the Royal Navy’s new medium range surveillance radar called Artisan 3D, among other systems.

Mr Hollingbery said: ‘I had extensive discussions with staff and I was left in no doubt that the company takes its health and safety responsibilities very seriously indeed.

‘It operates a health and safety management system that’s regularly reviewed and kept up to date and so I was reassured there’s absolutely no risk to those living nearby.’

Mr Hollingbery was told about work to ensure the radars are safe, including making an adjustment in the equipment to lift the radar signals over the helipad at the nearby Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

He said: ‘I hope this will address the parish council’s understandable but unfounded fears.’

The visit came after the chairman of Southwick and Widley Parish Council, Jim Watson, had been contacted by a concerned resident and wrote to Mr Hollingbery and QinetiQ on behalf of the council about possible radiation levels from the radars.

Mr Watson told The News: ‘Someone approached the parish council to express their concerns that the level of radiation from the equipment so we wrote to the company as well as the health and safety people, local councils and the local MP to express our concerns and asking for assurances.

‘We got a satisfactory reply – as good as we could have expected.’

In a letter to Mr Watson, Stuart Hider, head of the QinetiQ’s maritime systems programme, explained the company takes health and safety issues seriously,

He said: ‘I am confident that our management arrangements ensure that there is no health risk to the community from our operations.’