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MI5 asks architects to keep plans secret

MI5 has called on architects and planners to withhold information from the public to stop it falling into the hands of those with ‘hostile intent’.

An MI5 advisor told the AJ that by publishing detailed security measures in online planning applications, architects and planning authorities could be giving terrorists a ‘head start’.

The officer added: ‘It’s a pre-emptive measure. It does not mean people do not get to see what a scheme will look like, but we have to take steps to prevent someone with hostile intent from accessing it. These people are bloody clever and we shouldn’t be giving them gifts.’

The government has sent letters to chief planning officers throughout the UK asking planning departments not to publish plans which detail potential weak points in buildings, such as where bollards meet the foundations.

Head of Arup Security Consulting David Hadden said: ‘There is a need to recognise that the accessibility of sensitive information is a delicate issue.

A spokesman from Corus Bi-Steel, the manufacturer of the protective bollards outside the Houses of Parliament, said the MI5 plea ‘clearly hasn’t filtered down to the critical level yet – it’s certainly something architects should be aware of’.

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