MoD told to tackle Dalgety Bay radiation by March
THE Ministry of Defence has been given until March to tackle Dalgety Bay's radioactive pollution problem.
If they don't come up with a plan to clear the contamination by then, the beach will be declared 'radioactive contaminated land' (RCL) and legal action will begin against the MoD.
It would be the first location in the UK to be blighted with the unwanted tag but patience is running out over the long-running saga.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency said they expect to see a final version of a voluntary remediation plan by the end of February.
And principal policy officer, Dr Paul Dale, warned, "If this does not happen, Sepa intends to designate the area as RCL by the end of March 2012."
The expectations were laid out to the MoD at a meeting of the Dalgety Bay Forum on Tuesday in Stirling.
Around 470 radioactive particles have been found on the foreshore since 12th September and Sepa said a further three "high activity" sources, one of which gave an "extremely high in-field reading", were removed at the weekend.
Dr Dale said, "Sepa believes that the MoD is responsible for the radioactive material present at Dalgety Bay, and as such Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is the responsible party in terms of remediation.
"Sepa will continue to work constructively and co-operatively with DIO, but as the regulator Sepa has a specific role under the RCL regulations to assess the fitness of the proposals of the responsible party for the protection of the environment and human health."
He added, "Sepa will continue with the necessary preparations for designation of the area as RCL in the event that it does not receive a credible long-term voluntary remediation plan from DIO.
"We expect to see a draft of the remediation plan by the end on January 2012, and to have the final version by the end of February."
Sepa revealed last week that declaring the land as RCL had the potential to become a long drawn-out legal process but could involve them carrying out the clean-up work and billing the MoD for it.
They are convinced the pollution - known about since 1990 - is from World War II aircraft dials that were coated with a luminous paint containing radium-226.
They believe the planes were broken up and burned in nearby Donibristle Airfield in the 1950s with the resultant ash and clinker dumped at the foreshore.
Pressure has been mounting on the MoD to act with Dalgety Bay community council writing to Prime Minister David Cameron and former PM Gordon Brown challenging the MoD to a parliamentary debate on the issue.
Environment secretary Richard Lochhead said, "It is deeply disappointing that that this situation has arisen as a result of inaction from the MoD.
"I have urged the MoD on a number of occasions to take immediate action and come forward with credible plans to investigate the source of the contamination at Dalgety Bay.
"I would have expected the level of radioactivity to have impelled those responsible to do the right thing for the people of Dalgety Bay and clean up this mess."
He added, "The Scottish Government prefers that a voluntary approach is taken by the MoD."
Fife Council waded into the debate this week and Councillor George Kay, chair of the police, fire and safety committee, said, "We are all losing patience with the MoD.
"The situation at the beach has been going on too long.
"For the people of Dalgety Bay this is an unbearable situation.
"It is time for definite action to resolve this, we cannot have public health potentially being put at risk.
"We are supportive of Sepa in all their efforts to date and I call on the MoD to take action now."
The council are also expected to agree to add the ominous-looking yellow radioactive hazard warning emblem on signs at the foreshore.
The chair of the South West Fife area committee, Councillor Alice McGarry, criticised the MoD for refusing to accept responsibility for remediation and for not committing beyond supporting Sepa in "further investigations".
She said they also declined to accept liability for the original dumping of the radioactive material and refused to fund a temporary barrier to prevent further erosion and uncovering of radioactive particles.
Fife Conservatives called for the Secretary of State for Defence to "put a boot up the MoD backside" to get them to act.
Local councillor Dave Dempsey said, "We've watched and waited for ages for the MoD to do something.
"While the risk to the general public is very small, there's a significant risk to those using the bit of beach in question and it's high time this was sorted out.
Sepa, who are investigating, have done a great job, they've been active, open and upfront.
"In marked contrast, the MoD, who caused the problem and whose job it is to fix it, have been next to invisible."
Constituency MSP Helen Eadie, who also lives in the town, said the MoD needed to "stop this dither and delay" and to tackle the pollution.
Community council chairman, Colin McPhail, added, "There is a real urgency in this situation and everyone involved needs to recognise that."
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Nov 25, 09:33
I'm astonished at Gordon Brown's blatant hypocrisy. This has been going on for the best part of a decade, when Brown was Chancellor and Prime Minister. He could have done something about it then, instead of saying nothing until now.
It is all documented here: http://www.sepa.org.uk/radioactive_substances/publications/dalgety_bay_reports.aspx
Fife Council ignored the problem when they were responsible for contaminated land, SEPA have pressed the MoD, which has tried its best to wriggle out of responsibility, and there was no political interest whatsoever until the SNP Cabinet Secretary wrote to the MoD in 2009 and obtained a commitment of support. Before that, the only communications were at junior civil servant level. Gordon Brown has done absolutely nothing and it is an utter disgrace.
Recommend? Yes 15 No 7
Nov 25, 13:15
Gordon Brown Invsible for months now , Wullie Rennie pretty much the same apart from the appalling "joke" posted on his facebook a few weeks ago ! However, Who is going to take action on the MOD. on this contamination Issue ? They will ,Deny having anything to do with this at all . Watch this space for what happens with the 7 dead nukes Lying in Rosyth (plus the 10 dead nukes in Devonport ) Watch the uk Gov try to palm them all off on to us ?Now that Dalgety glows in the dark , how long before we don't need street lighting at all ? All those advocating reactor generated Electricity , Be warned , Dalgety has been like this for 50yrs , Where were the reactors from the nukes in Rosyth buried ?? NOT THE DOCKYARD I HOPE ( When Rifkind / Thatcher moved the work to Devonport ). Beware WESTMIDDEN GOVERNMENTS !!!!!!!!!!
Recommend? Yes 10 No 6
Nov 27, 10:55
The fact is that until a month or so ago the level of risk from any particles found in that area of beach in Dalgety Bay was deemed to be negligible and in a report for the Scottish Environmental Department in 1995 which is available on the Scottish Government Web site a comparison is drawn with the granite city where it is stated; “The highest ambient dose found at Dalgety Bay was only two-thirds of that found naturally in Aberdeen”.
Fife Council and both the UK and Scottish governments have therefore managed the situation and continued to monitor to make sure there was no risk and this has been done along with the local community. In October and again in November this year materials have been found that are of a extremely high radioactive source and this has changed the ball game.
It is fair to say that SEPA have stepped up their game and are doing a good job but that the MOD are dragging their feet kicking and screaming but refusing to do the right thing. It is equally fair to say that the local MP has been to the fore since this situation came to light and is leading from the front on trying to force the MOD to take the steps necessary in light of the new finds.
Now I understand that party animals will see this as an opportunity to do some politically bashing of opponents and try to score some points, but I would warn that this situation is very real for those of us who live in the Bay and we won’t take kindly to anyone trying to make cheap political point scoring from our situation. Everyone involved in this apart from the MOD are doing their very best and the people of the community are behind them.
Recommend? Yes 4 No 3
Nov 27, 11:52
I have many friends in Dalgety Bay and they have always been keen not to overstate this issue and are highly critical of some of the sensationalising of the issue that has been going on through some national newspapers. And to disappoint the Brown bashers they have always been full of praise for the way Gordon Brown has made sure the area has been monitored and been so close in touch with it no matter whatever else he was doing.
I take the point that these new finds have changed all that and the person that I have seen on the telly and in the press making that point is one Gordon Brown.
Recommend? Yes 6 No 5
Nov 27, 15:33
Nov 27, 19:08
Reading through the minutes of the SEPA meetings, it appears that (in 2005) the earlier report and risk assessment was found to be inadequate and the problem of contamination was worse that previously assumed. The MoD's position has been to give ground grudgingly and only when forced to. I can find no evidence of Brown doing anything while in No 11 or No 10 Downing Street, when he could have actually achieved something. The MoD have refused to handle removed radioactive material at Rosyth, they have wrangled over the scope of the surveys, they have argued that disseminated contamination cannot be attributed to them. A civil servant wrote to the MoD in the first instance, and it took a letter from the SNP Cabinet Secretary in 2009 to actually get a pledge of support. SEPA designating the land as Radioactive Contaminated Land is literally the nuclear option!. This contamination could have been found - and mitigated - a lot earlier. In some ways I have sympathy for the MoD as this is a wartime legacy.... but building thousands of houses in the vicinity of contaminated land should not have happened.
Recommend? Yes 5 No 3
Nov 28, 12:27
I am very keen to speak to any families who believe they may have a cancer sufferer linked to exposure to this particular area, I too have three such incidents within my own family.
Recommend? Yes 7 No 3
Nov 29, 10:34
The MSP - Helen Eadie - lives along the road from the area affected. She is voiciferous about getting things done, I wonder if this is genuine concern for the community or more self interest for the value of her house.
Would she be so involved if the problem were say 5 miles away?
As far as Gordon Brown is concerned I must say that I have not heard a single person praise him for what he has done. I have heard plenty who think he destroyed the country though
Recommend? Yes 10 No 1
Nov 29, 14:06
Nov 29, 22:39
Dec 3, 06:27
Welcome to the world of the Ministry of Defence. They will tell you any story in the hope it will believed. I was sent into the radioactive area of ground zero after two atomic bombs in 1958 without any protective clothing or respirator. The radiation Film Badges I was issued with for the tests mysteriously disappeared: The results of the QFE dosimeter I was carrying was never recorded: The blood count I had taken after the tests is missing, but one taken prior to the tests is in my records: I had a gland biopsy perfomed 18 moths after the tests (at an RAF hospital) but the results have never been revealed. They do not know how many film badges were issued or returned: they do not know how many people were issued with protective clothing: they do not know how many people entered areas of high radiation or how long they spent in the area, and they refuse to divulge any radiation levels for the area of ground zero.
Yet we are told by the Ministry of Defence that all details were mericulously recorded and health and safety was paramount and we would have received more radiation had we remained at home.
With this catalogue of lies emanating from the Ministry of Defence why should we believe anything they say?
Recommend? Yes 6 No 0
Dec 5, 22:14
MOD. ( Ministry of Departure from all responsibility) It wisnae us , We didnae know , How could we know how much junk was buried , It was them stpid council workers that done it while we were quaffing champers in the officers club at rosyth , Cos we had bigger numbers of people to fry , 7 dead nukes for gods sake , I mean , all that was buried at Donny B. was a couple of old fairy gannets , but jesus , that was 50yrs ago, I Know because I usedf to watch these planes take off from the top of letham hill and have been to a few military air shows at Donnie B. ( Family's day) before it became HMS COCHRANE , which was subsequently moved to the approach road at rosyth dkyd. At About the time FOSNE Moved to Ferry Toll Rd ( Tank Rd ) and the S/m Tiptoe wound up in his back yard . Think the headline was "Tiptoe Through the Tulips "
MOD. Responsible ? your having a laugh !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Recommend? Yes 3 No 0