ENVIRONMENTAL bosses will monitor Valleyfield ash lagoons this summer to prevent a repeat of last year's cloud which plagued West Fife villages.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) have visited the site, operated by Scottish Power, as families in Newmills, Torryburn and Low Valleyfield have reported large collections of dust on their cars and windows in recent weeks.

Scottish Power have insisted that the lagoons are not to blame.

A spokesperson said: "We can confirm no dust has lifted off the lagoons.

"Through the recent hot weather, we have deployed additional measures to dampen roads and ensure the lagoons remain flooded or sufficiently damp to avoid dust concerns.

"These measures will continue until the lagoons are capped and the risk eliminated.”

The energy giant apologised to local communities last year as dust from the lagoons was carried on the wind and hung over West Fife in April and May, sparking health warnings from NHS Fife and enforcement action from SEPA.

School pupils at Torryburn Primary School were kept indoors at break times as parents raised concerns over their children's health and safety.

NHS also advised anyone with breathing problems to avoid inhaling the dust and to close all windows and doors.

Ian Buchanan, SEPA’s head of regulatory services for South East Scotland, said the agency will work with Scottish Power to ensure last year's events are not repeated.

He said: "SEPA have been in regular dialogue with Scottish Power to ensure they fulfil their permit obligations to prevent any escape of dust from the Valleyfield ash lagoons.

"A thorough inspection of the lagoons was carried out on April 24, in advance of the forecast dry weather, and SEPA officers were satisfied that Scottish Power are maintaining water levels in the lagoon to a sufficient level and robust measures were in place to prevent any potential dust from lifting from the site.

“Scottish Water have confirmed that additional pumps are in place to draw water from the Forth estuary as needed and a further site visit on Friday, June 1, confirmed the lagoons remain submerged. SEPA officers will continue to inspect the site throughout summer and work in close liaison with Scottish Power to ensure the lagoons remain suppressed in line with the conditions of their environmental permit."

Dunfermline MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville said constituents had raised concerns over the site and said there was "little trust" between them and Scottish Power,

She said: "SEPA have confirmed that they will continue to actively monitor the site over the summer months in order to ensure that Scottish Power comply with their permit conditions.

“However, I appreciate, given last year’s events in particular, that there is little trust between local residents and Scottish Power. They can be assured that I will be keeping a close eye on this issue.”