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Resources for responding to Explosive Ordnance (EO) contamination problems are costly, limited and precious. It is appropriate to expect that authorities, agencies, operators and other parties involved in, or associated with, EO programmes do their utmost to ensure that assets are deployed to achieve as much as possible, for the minimum cost in the shortest time. Achieving such efficiency represents a significant challenge when dealing with the complex world of EO contamination. The concept and practice of land release is the primary means of achieving such aims.
Application of the land release process consists of establishing and improving the definition of where EO are to be found (and where they are not) through the application of all reasonable effort, until it can be shown with justifiable confidence that EO are either not present in an area or, if they were found to be present, have all been destroyed or removed from that area.
The nature of the reasonable effort required to implement the process varies depending upon the specific local circumstances and conditions, the stage reached in the land release process, and the implications of new information discovered as the process progresses.
Practical effort is normally applied through non-technical survey (which includes all appropriate non-technical methods), technical survey and clearance. Although it is typical for the process to advance from non-technical survey, through technical survey to clearance, there is no requirement for it to follow any one sequence. Planners, operators and decision-makers should keep the situation under review at all times, identifying all relevant sources of information, techniques and methods, making use of them whenever it is appropriate, effective and efficient to do so.
Surrounding the entire land release process should be an effective information management system that ensures that data is collected accurately and consistently, is reported in compliance with formats and schedules, is entered into databases correctly, and is analysed to provide reliable support to decision makers, quality monitors and other interested parties.
The land release process requires decisions to be taken in real world situations; ones that frequently do not offer simple, clearly defined circumstances. The nature of the hazard and the way in which it is distributed will determine to a great extent how easily and efficiently land release processes can, or cannot, be applied. At the same time the real world offers many sources of factual evidence that can and should be used to plan and prioritise, to take decisions and to check the validity of such decisions. Authorities and agencies should be active in identifying, accessing and using all relevant sources of data, information and analysis in support of the land release process.
The most common source of truly ‘hard’ information is that found during technical operations - the discovery of actual hazard items during technical survey or clearance work. The value of such data cannot be overstated and organisations conducting technical survey and clearance should treat it with the greatest care and attention. Not only should details of ‘what was found where’ be collected, recorded and reported, but authorities and agencies should ensure that the information is analysed to help identify trends, patterns, or other characteristics that can help decision makers take valid, efficient decisions, and increase confidence in land release processes. Where data indicates shortcomings in the land release process then it should be used to support continual improvement of procedures, practice and policies.
IMAS 08.10 Non-technical survey provides guidance on the principles of non-technical survey, the conduct of a non-technical survey, including how land can be cancelled by non-technical survey;
IMAS 08.20 Technical survey provides guidance on the principles of technical survey, the conduct of technical survey, including how land can be reduced through technical survey;
IMAS 09.10 Clearance requirements provide the requirements for the conduct of clearance and the release through clearance;
IMAS 09.11 Battle area clearance provides the requirements for the conduct of battle area clearance and the release of land through battle area clearance.
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