Today, on National Engineering Day, we are joining individuals and organisations across the country who are celebrating engineers and the vital contributions they make to improve everyday lives and shape the world around us.

The focus of this year’s celebrations is the role engineers play in creating sustainable solutions for the future. At Brimstone, we are committed to finding more sustainable practices for explosives engineering. We wanted to use this important day to shine a light on our incredible team at RAF Cowden and the new sustainable business practices they have introduced on-site.

Our explosives engineering team at RAF Cowden

We are fortunate to have a great team of engineers at RAF Cowden who have extensive EOD experience and bring a range of vital skills to the business.

Paul Duckworth MBE is our Site Manager and Senior EOD Engineer. Like many of our employees at Brimstone, Paul is a military veteran, having served for 25 years as an Aircraft Weapons Engineer (Armourer) in the RAF. He was also a member of the RAF Mountain Rescue Service and was awarded an MBE in 1995 for his services in this role. Paul’s last role in the RAF was as Chief Technician Senior Bomb Disposal Officer at RAF Cowden on 5131 (BD) Sqn. This included responsibility for the day-to-day operations, clearance of UXO and liaising with numerous stakeholders. This made Paul the perfect candidate for the role of Site Manager at Cowden after we won the DIO contract!

“I jumped at the opportunity to return to Cowden with Brimstone. Managing Cowden from 1999-2004 was a balancing act between preserving the landscape, the environment and natural wildlife whilst clearing thousands of UXO both on the land, beach and cliff tops, a skill set I have been able to transfer comfortably to Brimstone with my subsequent return to EOD duties”- Paul Duckworth.

Supporting Paul on site are UXO Site Engineer, Steve Aldred, and EOD Site Supervisor, Dan Field.

Steve joined the RAF at age 18 as a Weapons Technician. After a promotion to Sergeant in 1986, he attended the Defence EOD school at Chattenden. Subsequently, Steve went on to undertake various EOD duties at RAF North Coates, FAWR Goswick Sands, Former 81MU Bowes Moor (Chemical MU), the Falkland Islands and Kuwait. After leaving the RAF, Steve worked as an Explosives Advisor to a Barrister specialising in small arms and explosives-related cases, before joining Brimstone in 2021.

Dan joined the British Army at age 17 and completed his basic training at the Army Technical Foundation Collage in Arborfield. During his time of service, Dan completed several tours and was posted to multiple countries around the world including Iraq, Canada, Germany and Afghanistan. After leaving the Army, he completed his EOD level 2 and 3 courses, before joining Brimstone in 2021.

Together, Paul, Steve and Dan leverage their extensive military and EOD expertise to manage the UXO contamination at RAF Cowden.

The brimstone team at raf cowden

Ensuring more sustainable business practices on-site

Our time at RAF Cowden has been marked by continuous improvement in our practices. One notable achievement has been the identification and implementation of more efficient methods for UXO disposal, involving reduced plastic explosive quantities. This has not only enhanced safety on-site but has contributed to more sustainable resource usage and a remarkable 50% reduction in explosives costs since the project’s inception.

These changes have provided a range of benefits, not just for Brimstone but for local residents. The reduction of explosives used has effectively reduced noise levels, enhancing the overall quality of life for nearby residents and preserving the natural environment. This has resulted in improved stakeholder relationships which is essential for the success of this project.

Uxo at raf cowden
BDU 33s prepared for explosive cutting on the left, with BDU 33s cut and certified CFFE on the right

Our plans for the future

While the reduced explosive quantities have been a great step forward, we aren’t stopping there. Over the past couple of years, our team have been working with the RAF, DIO and local authorities on further solutions that promise to address some of the challenges at RAF Cowden. We aren’t quite ready to share this news yet but do keep an eye on our blog and social media posts for updates in the future.

Our commitment to sustainable engineering solutions

At Brimstone, we take National Engineering Day as an opportunity to celebrate our commitment to sustainable engineering solutions. Our work at RAF Cowden exemplifies this commitment, showcasing how innovation, community engagement, and sustainable practices can go hand in hand. By constantly striving for excellence in explosives engineering while minimising our environmental impact, we hope to set an example for the industry and make a positive difference in our community and beyond.

For a detailed case study on our work at RAF Cowden please click here, and to learn more about our disposal practices, please click here.

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