Up to 300 people are due to be evacuated from their homes on Thursday while Ministry of Defence officials deactivate what is believed to be an unexploded World War two bomb discovered off the coast at Gourock.
The device was found on 7 October by a member of the Gourock Sub-Aqua Club, near to the town’s swimming pool. The device is expected to be removed at around 12 noon on Thursday.
Householders within a 200-metre exclusion zone have been told to leave their homes at 8am until given the “all clear” estimated to be around 2pm today. A police cordon will be in place around their homes.
The majority of residents from the 108 properties affected will be sheltered and given refreshments in nearby Clydeview Academy, with more vulnerable people having been identified in advance by community wardens and taken to day centres.
Residents within 500 metres of the device, who are not being evacuated, were issued with safety advice warning them to open all windows, stay away from glass items, remain near to brick walls and instructed not to go out into cars or gardens.
The public will be informed of any schedule changes via social media and on Inverclyde Council and Police Scotland websites.
There will also be an exclusion zone at sea, around 1000 metres, and small boat owners are asked to refrain from sailing during the duration of the operation.
Chief Inspector Elliot Brown, local area commander for Inverclyde, said: “I must stress that this evacuation is a precautionary measure, and that there is no immediate danger posed to the community of Gourock.
“I understand the disruption that this might cause some local residents however, we are working with our partners to ensure that this disruption is kept to the absolute minimum. Safety is our priority above all else, and this is why the decision to evacuate some residents has been taken.
“The local authority are providing a respite centre should residents require it, and transport can be arranged. I would urge any resident who is being evacuated, and who rely on medication, to ensure they take sufficient supplies of this medication with them. If you have any pets, please ensure you take them with you to either the respite centre or your alternative accommodation.”