Lesley Laird MP is confident that work to finally remove the radioactive waste from Dalgety Bay will begin next Spring.

The MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath met with defence minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan last week, who is now responsible for the project to clean up the long-standing issue of radiation on the beach in the town.

The pollution was first discovered almost 30 years ago and attempts to have it cleared have been repeatedly delayed.

The Ministry of Defence gave the project the green light in March and financial scrutiny by the Cabinet Office was signed off in May.

Now, the contract for the work is expected to be awarded in the next few weeks.

Ms Laird said: “The meeting was a positive one and I am now feeling more confident that this work will begin next Spring.

“The budget is approved, the tender process is complete and the contract will now be allocated in the next few weeks.

“Final agreements regarding access are also almost concluded and the minister confirmed that she expects to be able to confirm the start date for the project shortly.”

Earlier this year, there were fears over whether the project would be signed off by the Cabinet Office with significantly increased costs compared to just a few years ago.

The clean-up is expected to cost around £10 million.

An action plan, which includes removing some of the contaminated debris and containing the rest by building a wall and new slipway, is expected to be signed off by the Cabinet Office.

The radiation has been traced back to World War II aircraft dials that were coated with luminous paint.

More than 3,000 radioactive particles have been found at the beach, in nearby gardens and next to the sailing club over the past two decades.

Defence chiefs have long been accused of refusing to take responsibility for the contamination and “dragging their feet” over the issue.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) identified the MoD as the polluter and said that the planes contained instrument dials that had been coated with a luminous paint containing radium-226 and that a “large amount” of the resultant ash and clinker from the incineration was dumped along the foreshore by the MoD.

The environment watchdog said the erosion of these deposits had, over time, led to radioactive particles being found on the beach and at the shore.

Planning permission was granted in 2017 and work on the foreshore includes the installation of a geotextile membrane and replacing and reinforcing rock armour to isolate and remove higher-activity material.

The jetty and slipways at Dalgety Bay Sailing Club are also due to be replaced.

Ms Laird added: “This is a long time coming for the people of Dalgety Bay.

“I started working on this campaign with the community council when I was first elected as a councillor in 2012, and here we are now in 2019 as MP and I am very pleased that I have been able to stick with this project and I look forward to seeing it brought to a satisfactory conclusion with the confirmation of the contract and the start date for work.

“This project has been all about perseverance and I am delighted that by working together, we are finally going to get the right result for the people of Dalgety Bay.”