Ministry of Defence 'will not' compensate Plymouth residents after homes damaged during bomb removal

The bomb was removed from a house on St Michael Avenue on 24 February. Credit: PA

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that it will not provide financial support for people whose homes were damaged by the removal of a World War Two bomb in Plymouth.

A number of homes and gardens on St Michael Avenue in Keyham were damaged during the successful removal of the Second World War bomb in February.

In a press release, the local MP Luke Pollard said he was seeking an urgent meeting with ministers.

After the bomb disposal, he spoke with Defence Minister Dr Andrew Murrison MP to ask if the MOD had a policy of providing support for the repair of housing and gardens damaged during bomb disposal operations like that carried out in Keyham.

Mr Pollard said that Dr Murrison had suggested that there may be a route for assistance in such circumstances and undertook to investigate.

However, according to the MP, he has now said in a letter that the MOD "does not consider itself liable" for the damage.

Dr Murrison is said to have cited the legal precedent of the Exeter bomb and added that residents should instead "arrive at a solution" with their home insurance companies.

Mr Pollard said that it has been "frustrating" to have received contradictory advice from the Minister when residents "just want their lives back to normal as soon as possible".

The MP has replied to Dr Murrison to request an urgent meeting to clarify what government help and guidance is available to affected families under MOD policy.

Mr Pollard says he has also written to insurance companies to push for comprehensive support for those affected, as well as working with Plymouth City Council.

A military vehicle seen in Plymouth, where residents were evacuated and a cordon was put in place following the discovery of a WWII bomb Credit: PA

Plymouth City Council has offered residents support such as deep cleaning and repairs.

The MP has also argued that insurance companies should not use an “act of war” loophole in insurance policies.

Building Plymouth, a Plymouth City Council-led partnership with the construction industry, has pledged help with repairs for a damaged back wall, garden repairs, and decking.

Luke Pollard MP, Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said: “It is frustrating to get contradictory advice from the government. Residents just want to get their lives back to normal as soon as possible.

“The Army and Royal Navy stepped up to help Keyham when we needed them, showing extraordinary skill, bravery and expertise to safely remove the bomb.

"It makes it so very disappointing that the government has been slow and confused in the recovery phase. It would be unacceptable for residents to be left worse off. I will keep working to prevent that."