A team from Cranfield University has won a NATO Excellence Award for a workshop delivered to assist with monitoring and controlling toxic contamination on live-fire military ranges.

Military ranges used for training become contaminated with toxicants from decaying munitions, some of which are more harmful than others. Recognising the types of residues that are released from different munitions is important to control risks and support range sustainability.

NATO’s Science and Technology Organization (STO) sponsored the first Cooperative Demonstration of Technology (CDT) on Military Live Fire Range Characterisation programme at Cranfield in 2016 and it was recently announced that it has been awarded the 2018 AVT Panel Excellence Award for its “outstanding work and significant scientific contribution”.

NATO said that the workshop, organised by the Environmental Science Group at Cranfield’s Centre for Defence Chemistry, resulted in “well-recognised scientific contributions and follow-on activities in NATO and nations” and “fulfilled the purpose of NATO’s collaborative Science & Technology efforts by building a strong multi-national network as well as directly impacting national defence programs with its recommendations”.

Tracey Temple, Lecturer in Environmental Science at Cranfield Defence and Security, organised the CDT. She said: “We are delighted to win this Excellence Award, as it will help to raise awareness of the seriousness of soil and water becoming contaminated with explosives. The CDT workshop brought together many experts to instruct those involved on the need to characterise explosives contaminated sites.”

More than 30 representatives from 16 NATO nations and partner nations undertook the week-long course in military range characterisation to learn the skills needed to assess ranges for contamination.

Participants visited the Cranfield Ordnance Test and Evaluation Centre (COTEC) on Salisbury Plain, where they were shown ways to sample soil and water to test for contaminants.

Dr Dirk Zimper, former Executive Officer, NATO STO Collaboration Support Office, Applied Vehicle Technology Panel, said: "We see that more and more nations are struggling with this issue as environmental regulations in NATO and NATO-partner nations continue to grow. We have already achieved a lot of results and developed good procedures and tools, now is the right time to develop that knowledge within the NATO STO framework."

The award will be formally presented in December at a NATO meeting in Athens, Greece.

The CDT is running again this year at Cranfield from 30 September to 5 October and the UK has six fully funded places available.

Watch highlights from the 2016 CDT

Group of people
Participants on the first CDT on Military Live Fire Range Characterisation programme at Cranfield in 2016

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.