WEST Fife families affected by the national baby ashes scandal are to receive compensation payments of up to £4000.

Parents had been told that no ashes from their infants existed however council staff at crematoria in Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy had disposed of them by putting them in the waste.

As well as the financial recompense of amounts between £1000 and £4000, moves are now afoot to create a lasting memorial to the children.

Fife Council senior manager Alan Paul said they had "apologised unreservedly" to families affected by past practices and they recognised the harm and distress that it caused.

"As documented, some infants’ ashes were unrecovered from the chamber and we have changed our practices to avoid this happening again," he said.

“We previously invited families to discuss a specific memorial to their infants and have just this week received some ideas from their representatives which we will be discussing in due course.

“The final date for those affected by past practices at Fife crematoria to make a claim for compensation is March 1, which will enable the process to move to the next stage.

"We have agreed terms of settlement with Thompsons Solicitors, however the details are confidential and we will not be breaching the terms of that legal settlement.”

Solicitor Catherine McGarrell, from Thompsons who are representing families involved, said the agreement of Fife Council to the compensation scheme was of "huge significance" to the parents affected.

"The amounts of money involved are of a far lesser importance than the sign of good faith shown by the local authority," she said. "The council have backed up their public apology with real action which is welcomed by my clients.

"It has been a long emotional journey for the parents but this does provide some small comfort. I also welcome the fact the Council are actively engaging with us over a permanent memorial to the children.”

In 2013, Dunfermline mum Carol Howden discovered she had been affected by the scandal.

She was 17 when her four-month-old boy, John, died of cot death in 1988 and Dunfermline Crematorium told her there would be no remains.

However, after watching the news about the nationwide scandal at Mortonhall Crematorium, she discovered that John’s ashes had also been scattered without her knowledge.

Back then she told the Press: “To go more than half my life just to find out that somebody who didn’t care about him had dumped his ashes. Why would another human being do this?

“The grief that losing a child brings is one thing, this was a nightmare.”

Carol later made calls for a special memorial to be created and dedicated to all the affected babies.

Claims for anyone affected will be accepted until 5pm on March 1, 2019 and should be addressed to Clare Whyte, Risk Management Team Leader, Fife Council, Fife House, Glenrothes, Fife, KY7 5LT or Catherine McGarrell, Solicitor Thompsons Solicitors, 285 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 4HQ with full contact details at http://www.thompsons-scotland.co.uk.