THE Ministry of Defence have been slammed for their "shocking attitude" over the radiation clean-up at Dalgety Bay.

Local councillor David Barratt said he and MP Neale Hanvey had resorted to writing to the Press to get a progress report from the UK Government on efforts to tackle the pollution.

And the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) said they were "disappointed" with the lack of progress as it transpired that neither the MoD nor their contractor had even applied for the permits which would allow them to start work.

Cllr Barratt, who represents Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay, said: "I've worked with Neale to try and get some kind of answer from the MoD on this.

"Whenever we have emailed the MoD we get absolutely nothing and what we've resorted to doing is writing to the Dunfermline Press, saying this is the position we're in, and within a day they get a response from the MoD.

"So they're willing to communicate with the Press but not local elected representatives or indeed the local community. It's a shocking attitude they have towards communication on this issue."

The South-West Fife area committee was told yesterday (Wednesday) that the MoD had been asked to give an update to councillors but had not responded.

Convener Alice McGarry said: "Despite repeated attempts to communicate with them, we've had no feedback at all."

It was left to Nina Patton, from SEPA, to inform councillors of the current position.

She said: "Really, the MoD should be here to give an update but I'll give you as much as we have.

"Back in August, we had confirmation that their contractor would not be on site in 2020 and mediation works would commence in 2021.

"The MoD also confirmed they had submitted an amendment to Fife Council to extend the existing planning conditions for the works by three years and I believe that's been approved.

"They also confirmed the contractor had applied for permission to erect a concrete processing plant in Inverkeithing, to prepare pre-cast concrete elements in advance of the mediation works."

Ms Patton continued: "SEPA are yet to receive an application from the MoD or their contractor for a permit for the works, this would be an environmental authorisation permit, but we stand ready to receive the necessary paperwork to determine the permit as soon as we receive the submission.

"We will continue to liaise with the MoD and their contractor to ensure the appropriate permits are in place for the start of the work, which is now likely to be 2021."

Cllr Barratt said the lack of communication from the MoD had been "extremely frustrating" and added: "They seem to bounce between who they're blaming month to month.

"Last year, when they visited the committee, they tried to say it was local stakeholders that were delaying it and the last update we received indicated the delay was down to a lack of progress on permits, but from what you've said today, they haven't even submitted that application.

"I'm trying to understand why there's been this delay, given they've had months to get ready."

Ms Patton said: "I can't answer that I'm afraid. All I know is we haven't received anything."

She added: "We're disappointed with the lack of progress. After the delays on landowner access etc that took up the majority of the previous year, this year we expected them to be on site so we're really disappointed."