Intrusive surveys to support Rochester Airport’s expansion plans

Rochester Airport's expansion plans have been supported by Igne who were called to conduct intrusive surveys.

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Like so many areas in the south east of England, the Rochester Airport site in Kent, which today is home to the Kent and Sussex Air Ambulance, was heavily bombed during WWII.

Earlier this year, the airport’s owners decided to make significant improvements, and to expand.  Plans included:

  • Refurbishing hangar three
  • Building a new control tower and classrooms
  • Developing a space for the building of aircraft, and
  • Building a new aircraft hangar

To support the airport’s plans, main contractor Kier called Igne to help make the entire site safe before intrusive construction works could begin.

After an initial desktop assessment that confirmed the site was at high risk from the threat of encountering unexploded ordnance, Igne’s UK Land team devised a suitable solution to clear the site for Keir.

Utilising intrusive survey methods, the site was assessed for ordnance. 

Lead Driller Neil Snowball worked to drill 142 holes through the chalk and clay ground conditions.  Holes were drilled to 9m depths and probes were dropped for the detection of unexploded ordnance.

The geophysical data was assessed on site by an explosive ordnance detection (EOD) engineer, and quality assured in real time at Igne’s Kent offices.

Fortunately no ordnance was detected, and the site was declared safe for construction work to commence. 

People also ask:

What is a UXO desktop study?

This is a first step in the explosive threat mitigation process. A desktop UXO study will assess historical records, anecdotal evidence and Igne's own databases of unexploded ordnance finds to determine whether a site is at low, medium or high risk of UXO contamination.

How do intrusive surveys work?

Intrusive surveys enable Igne's geophysicists and explosive ordnance disposal experts to identify whether there are any items of explosive ordnance buried on a site. At Igne we have two intrusive survey methods. We either push magnetometers into the ground using hydraulic rams or we lower magnetometers into non-ferrous tubes inserted into boreholes formed using a rotary drill. At Rochester Airport we used the latter method. The data gathered is then assessed until an entire site is clear of any UXO threat.