AN AGREEMENT with the site owner could see an "environmental disaster" finally removed from Lathalmond, near Kelty.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) held "very constructive talks" with Trans-Britannia Ltd last week about clearing the 30-feet high rubbish dump containing around 7,000 tonnes of old carpets and plasterboard.

It's been an eyesore at the M90 Commerce Park for years but estimated clear-up costs of £1 million have prevented any action as no-one wants to foot the bill, with the site owner blaming the tenant for the tip.

Businessman Ramesh Dewan, who runs Trans-Britannia, felt he was “very much the victim here” but his firm have now agreed to provide a costed plan to SEPA by the end of January, considering a range of options for recycling or land-filling the waste.

The environment watchdog's Peter Finnie added: "SEPA will review the plan once received and then explore with public sector partners how clearance of the site might be facilitated, working collaboratively."

He added that there were a number of options both sides could look at.

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Alex Rowley said: "This is progress and progress is always to be welcomed. However, we need to see a timeline being put on getting this site cleaned up.

"I am trying to firm up a visit to the site from the minister as we cannot allow the matter to drag on and on as it has been doing."

Earlier this month, environment minister Mairi Gougeon MSP said taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the clean-up costs and the landowner was responsible for removing the "environmental disaster".

However, the law firm representing Mr Dewan has previously disputed this and said he had already "sustained losses in excess of £1m as a result" of the tenant dumping waste on his land.

He also raised an unsuccessful court action against the council for the estimated £1m clear-up costs earlier this year.

In 2010, Mr Dewan leased the site to First Option Services Ltd, a waste management company that specialised in recycling materials including carpets, plastics and plasterboard.

Fife Council was one of their main clients.

Around the Spring of 2012, First Option breached their permit and the two men in charge, Michael Hope and James Winters, were prosecuted.

They received community payback orders at Dunfermline Sheriff Court in June 2016 after admitting keeping controlled waste – approximately 3,500 tonnes of waste carpet and 3,500 tonnes of waste plasterboard – in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health.

They were not ordered to clear the huge pile of rubbish as part of their sentence.

Mr Rowley had argued in September that, as Fife Council was one of the "largest contributors", they should take their share of the responsibility for the clean-up.

Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman said: “This is the first real progress we have seen on getting this eyesore cleaned up after years of stalemate and I think we can put this down as a win for the constituency.

“Having visited the site myself, I've witnessed the danger it poses to the environment and to the people who work there.

"The site is close to the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum and I would imagine visitors would not take too kindly having to pass this rubbish site on their way."

Mr Finnie said that Trans-Britannia had also experienced "issues" at other units it owned at Lathalmond and said a successful prosecution had taken place against an organisation that had dumped tyres.

The firm had "found a disposal route for these tyres and proactively cleared the relevant unit".