WORK will begin today on the next stage of physical investigations at Dalgety Bay to tackle the radioactive contamination on the beach.

Test pits and bore-holes are to be dug by a contractor for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to help identify where radioactivity is buried and the size of the problem. The work will take approximately three weeks and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) will also be on site.

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Dalgety Bay Community Council have launched an appeal to local people who may have knowledge about how the contamination occurred.

Colin McPhail, community council chair, has asked for anyone who has knowledge on incineration, dumping of material or other works at the foreshore in the 1950s and '60s to contact him.

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

Mr Brown, MP for the area, said, "I am pleased that the MOD contractor will now commence 'Phase 2' of the investigation this month and this will include bore-holes and trial holes on the contaminated land.

"But I would like a promise that remediation work that takes us beyond investigations will be agreed to start next spring.

"The delays now arise from a Ministry of Defence idea that someone else is to blame for the contamination. But while they look for scapegoats they should be absolutely committed that whatever else happens, the remedial work will go ahead and not be delayed.' "I applaud the continued determination of Colin McPhail and the Community Council to press for speedier resolution of the issues."

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."

SEPA has been carrying out work to investigate: the activity and solubility of particles recovered; changes in the coastline to identify areas that may have been made from moved earth; the make up of the area of ground in front of the sailing club.

The results of the work will also be considered by the Dalgety Bay Expert Group, whose recommendations will be given to SEPA