WORK commissioned by the Ministry of Defence to remove radioactive pollution from the beach at Dalgety Bay has failed to start in July as promised.

After it was delayed in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, community bodies had been notified that contractors Balfour Beatty were expected to start the clean-up in July, and this was expected to run until late September.

But there has been no action at the site.

The MoD has now confirmed to the Press that work is expected to start in April 2021 instead.

Neale Hanvey, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, said he was furious that local politicians and the community had been left in the dark.

He has written to Jeremy Quin MP, the UK Government Minister for Defence Procurement, to register his disappointment that he had not been notified of any further delay.

The MoD has come in for criticism since the radioactive pollution was first identified, after being slow initially to accept responsibility for the clean-up and then for the repeated delays to the work.

Mr Hanvey said: "The last I heard from the MoD was that work was to begin ‘imminently’ and local groups were told to expect the clean-up to start in July.

“Well July has come and gone, yet the MoD is nowhere to be seen.

“I think we can all accept that coronavirus has delayed all kinds of projects but the MoD must keep the community and its representatives updated about this necessary and important work.

“They were slow to take responsibility, have tried to shift the blame for delays, and now they leave us all in the dark."

More than 3,000 radioactive particles have been found at the beach, in nearby gardens and next to Dalgety Bay Sailing Club, caused by dials from Second World War aircraft that were broken up and burned at Donibristle airbase.

Restrictions were put in place in 2011 with parts of the beach fenced off and fishing banned.

The MoD finally accepted responsibility and defence chiefs agreed a plan to remove the pollution in July 2014 but there have been continual delays.

The MoD said this year that £10.5 million contract should be finished by 2022 if estimations went to plan with work taking place during spring and summer months, but that will undoubtedly be pushed back now.

Councillor David Barratt, who represents Dalgety Bay, added: “The process for re-opening construction sites started at the end of May and while some delay could be expected, hopes were raised when the MoD indicated a July start.

“The UK Government and MoD have had years to plan this and it should have been ready to go.

"It is unclear why works have not started or indeed if they will this year.

“The community has grown tired of broken promises, poor communication and won’t believe further commitments until we see well-advanced works on the ground.“

An MoD spokesperson said: “Every effort was made to work with our partners to begin the removal of radiological contamination at Dalgety Bay this summer but, regrettably, the application for the necessary licence to the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency has been delayed.

“Work is now expected to start in April 2021 – the next available opportunity to ensure there is no disturbance to wintering birds. This is in line with Scottish National Heritage guidelines.”