OWNERS of a waste site that has blighted West Fife for a decade are taking the environmental regulator to court after they handed them a statutory notice.

Lathalmond, just outside Dunfermline, at the M90 Commerce Park, near Kelty, has been filled with more than 7,000 tonnes of old carpets and plasterboard and a 30-feet-high pile of waste since recycling firm ‘First Option Services’ ceased trading in June 2012.

Alex Rowley MSP and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) have been chasing Trans-Brittania, who are responsible for the site, for years to take action.

However, it has fallen on deaf ears, resulting in SEPA serving a statutory notice on on the current landowner on November 25 under section 59 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The notice requires the removal of the external waste by June 1 this year and the waste located within Unit 3 at the M90 Commerce Park by December 1, 2022.

However, the landowner has appealed, meaning the notice has been suspended pending the appeal process.

In a letter to Mr Rowley, SEPA have confirmed that it's preparing its defence of the owner’s appeal which will be heard by Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

It's not yet known when the appeal will be determined.

Mr Rowley told the Press: "Whilst it is disappointing that the company responsible for this environmental scandal think they can get out of their responsibility to have the site cleaned up, I am pleased that SEPA are determined to have the work done and will fight the appeal in court.

“I have fought over many years for action and will be seeking a meeting with the Environment Secretary to seek assurances that the Government will support SEPA every step of the way to getting this site cleaned up.

"I will not stop fighting for action and hope the company who own the site will be forced to do the right thing and have the site cleaned up.”

Trans-Brittania made an agreement to undertake an options appraisal and provide costed disposal options in December 2019 but SEPA confirmed last year that they had "reneged" on the agreement.

The Press has reported previously that the estimated cost for the site could be as much as £1 million but no-one wanted to foot the bill.

Businessman Ramesh Dewan, who runs Trans-Britannia, felt he was “very much the victim here” after tenants dumped the waste and his firm provided a costed plan to SEPA after “constructive talks” at the end of 2019.

The former environment minister, Mairi Gudgeon, said taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the clean-up costs and the landowner was responsible for removing the “environmental disaster”.

Graeme Downie, Scottish Labour candidate for West Fife & Coastal Villages, and Gordon Pryde, Scottish Labour candidate for Dunfermline North, also said this week the site had become a serious environmental hazard and was restricting economic development in the area.

After visiting the site and seeing the mess and environmental damage for themselves, the pair have agreed they will prioritise seeking a solution should they be elected in May.

When the Press asked for an update on the site earlier this week, a SEPA spokesperson said: "SEPA continues to try to secure landowner engagement and co-operation to facilitate the removal of the wastes at Unit 3, Lathalmond M90 Commerce Park.

"We have written to the landowner requiring that they remove both the external and internal wastes. We will make public the outcome of this process as soon as appropriate.

"SEPA remains firmly focused on finding a solution for the removal of waste from the Lathalmond site."