TEST pits and boreholes will be dug at Dalgety Bay starting Monday to identify radiation and the size of the problem.

It's the latest move to investigate and rid the area of the contamination that has blighted the town's beach and turned it into a no-go zone.

The work will be carried out by a contractor for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and is expected to take three weeks. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) will also be on site.

Radiation was discovered at the beach in 1990 and is believed to be from radium paint used on aircraft instruments dumped in the Forth after the war.

It's understood that radioactive particles found on the beach are coming from caches within made ground, which helped form the coastline during and following the closure of Donibristle Airfield.

The investigation is designed to find out the extent and location of the contamination so there is a better understanding how widespread the problem is, and allow development of recommendations to remediate the area.

Previously particles have only been identified when they have been present at or near the surface.

Dr Paul Dale, a radioactive substances specialist at SEPA, said, "Once this work is completed we should have a better understanding of the extent and magnitude of the contamination.

"The results, together with the work SEPA has been doing, will help to inform options for appropriate remediation at the end of the investigation period." The results will also be considered by the Dalgety Bay Expert Group, whose recommendations will be given to SEPA.

Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, welcomed the progress, saying, "I hope that MoD understands the considerable anxiety that this long-running issue has caused the community. There is still a long way to go before the issues at Dalgety Bay are fully resolved and remediation options should be presented as soon as possible."