48th Fighter Wing opposes reopening road through RAF Lakenheath
August 8, 2005
RAF MILDENHALL, England — Reopening a public road that bisects RAF Lakenheath will put airmen, their children and spouses in greater danger of a terrorist attack, according to a report from the 48th Fighter Wing.
“If Lords Walk is reopened, an attack affecting large numbers of military and civilian personnel is dramatically increased merely by location,” concludes the vulnerability assessment of Lords Walk conducted by the wing’s antiterrorism office and signed by Lt. Col. Kenneth Ribler, chief of security forces.
Lords Walk was closed after the terrorist attacks in the United States in September 2001. Although it was to be a temporary closure, it remains shut off to local traffic.
A public inquiry was held in early July to allow an independent inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Transportation to hear both sides of the argument.
The report from the wing was entered into evidence at the hearing. A decision is expected later this month or early in September, according to people who attended the hearing.
Local people have complained that the road’s closure forces more traffic through their villages, causing an increase in accidents, noise and general inconvenience.
The Air Force has remained mum on the issue, preferring to let the Ministry of Defence, which owns the base, to make the case for permanent closure of the road.
The report from the wing, however, is the first public utterance from the American contingent on the base.
Allowing traffic to again use the road, the report said, puts facilities such as the elementary school, youth center, enlisted club and housing office within easy reach of a bomb exploded by terrorists using Lords Walk to gain access.
The report, which was prepared in June, before the recent attacks on the London subway, described the United Kingdom as “at significant risk from potential terrorist attack.” The U.S. facilities are described as “attractive targets.”