THE former Red Arrows site at Little Rissington has been revealed by the MoD as one of 15 places in the UK to be contaminated by radioactivity from the Second World War.

A dozen such sites, which have not been made public by the ministry before, were revealed after a parliamentary question was asked of MP Andrew Robathan earlier this month.

The married-quarters of the former RAF base, now known as Upper Rissington, is set to double in size after developer Gladedale Estates won planning permission last year to build 368 homes there.

Gladedale Estate was granted permission for the development, which will double the size of Upper Rissington, by the Secretary of State after Cotswold District Council failed to make a decision on the controversial plan.

Under the plan most of the existing business park buildings and some of the ex-MoD buildings will be demolished.

Others, including the former officers’ mess, watchtower, guardhouse and station headquarters will be converted.

Building work has already started on a raft of other amenities including a primary school, health centre and shops, and leisure facilities are planned for the site.

Lionel Teague, chairman of the Little Rissington Parish Council, said the council was unaware of the contamination.

He said: “My council didn’t know anything about it and I certainly didn’t know anything about it.

“If we had known it might have made a difference to the planning. I have nothing against the building there but the problem is there isn’t any work in the area.

“There’s going to be a lot of extra traffic. With another 300 houses it’s going to double at least as they will have to travel.”

The contamination comes from radium used to coat the dials of aircraft and other equipment to illuminate them in the dark. The radium comes from scrap that was burned and dumped in the 1940s and 50s.

A MoD spokesman said: “For all the 15 sites listed, the risk to site users and the public is negligible.

“We continually monitor sites and work with the authorities to ensure the risks are managed.

Of those not owned by the MoD, the landowners were informed of the presence of radium contamination as part of the sale and measures agreed to manage the risks.

“In some cases the MOD agreed to undertake remediation as part of the contract of sale.”

A Gladedale spokesperson said: "We have recently undertaken a site-wide contamination survey of the former RAF base at Little Rissington as part of the redevelopment proposals.

"A full remediation strategy is currently being agreed with the Environment Agency and the Council's Environmental Health Officer which will be implemented as the development is progressed.

"An isolated area of radiological contamination was identified at the southern end of the Business Park which is thought to be associated with lumienscence from an aircraft dial."