Bosses running the MOD site in Shoebury have confirmed yesterday's controlled explosion was part of a scheduled routine. 

Photos of a large plume of smoke surfaced around 2.20pm on Wednesday following reports an explosion could be heard in Southend

The smoke and noise was said to have come from the MOD site, which is managed by Qinetiq. 

The firm had told the Echo yesterday it was unaware of any unplanned explosions and activity was taking place on the range. 

In a statement today, Qinetiq has said the explosion and smoke did come from the site but was expected. 

A spokesman said: "We can confirm that this was part of normal range activity and that all activity was subject to our controls for noise and smoke.

"You can follow us @SHB_Alerts for updates on the status of the range.”

Read more:

Qinetiq provides regular updates on activity at the range and which days of the week residents in the area can expect to hear gunfire and explosions. 

The noise and sound coming from the range will often depend on weather conditions and wind direction. 

On its website, Qinetiq says it uses "acoustic forecasting and noise modelling" to operate within a strictly controlled noise limits. 

The maximum limit is 125dB (decibels).

It adds: "Noise is monitored at six stations located around the Thames Estuary (see map).

"If acoustic forecasting and noise modelling indicates that any work carried out may exceed 125dB, then the activity will be postponed until more favourable conditions allow.

"For the most part, the noise levels recorded remain well below the limit or are lost in the ambient background noise."

Essex Police said it received no reports of an explosion yesterday while the fire service said the noise came from a controlled explosion on MOD land.