Clean-up launched after jet fuel leak

A major clean-up operation has been launched after more than 50,000 gallons of jet fuel seeped into land at a Suffolk air base.Nine tankers of fuel was spilled at RAF Mildenhall, after workmen accidentally damaged an underground pipe while carrying out electrical maintenance.

A major clean-up is under way after more than 50,000 gallons of jet fuel seeped into land at a Suffolk air base.

The fuel was spilled at RAF Mildenhall after workmen damaged an underground pipe while carrying out electrical maintenance.

Base officials last night said they expected it to take at least two weeks to purify the contaminated area, but confirmed everything was being done to eliminate any risk to nearby homes.

Master Sgt Charles Tubbs said: "The spillage has occurred in a fuel line right next to one of the taxiways

"Forest Heath District Council, the Environment Agency and Anglian Water are all working together on this.

"RAF Mildenhall is concerned about the environment and we want to do everything we can to restore this area. There has been limited interruption and the base is still managing to function as normal."

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The leak was detected on Friday after base personnel noticed that fuel flow had slowed.

Ian Hill, team leader for the Environment Agency's environment management department, said the incident was being looked into.