By Martin Kelly
The Ministry of Defence has today accepted responsibility for the radioactive pollution that has blighted one of Scotland’s most popular coastlines.
In a report published this evening, the MoD has pledged £10m towards a plan to remove radioactive material from Daglety Bay and reinforce, replace and extend coastal rock armour.
In a statement issued this evening, Defence minister Andrew Murrison said: "We are committed to supporting the Dalgety Bay community and, whilst the risk to the public has always been very low, this report sets out a clear and strong strategy to address the radium contamination on the beach.
"We continue to work with Sepa and the council to achieve agreement on their future responsibilities and a definitive solution as soon as possible."
Sepa Executive Director Calum MacDonald said: "The proposed works outlined today by MoD provide a long term solution to the radium contamination of Dalgety Bay which if successful will allow the public to use the entire area again in an unrestricted manner.
"We welcome the proposals and will continue to work with MoD, Fife Council and other partners as detailed plans for the works are developed and implemented."
Councillor David Ross, the leader of Fife Council, added: "I am pleased with the commitment in principle from MoD to deliver the necessary remedial coastal protection works.
"The council looks forward to being involved through the design and planning phases and in the development and implementation of the proposals."
Welcoming the pledge to clean-up the area and the acceptance by the Ministry of Defence that it was responsible for the radioactive contamination, the SNP called for clean-up operations to begin as soon as possible.
Commenting, SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing said:
"Residents of Dalgety Bay and Fifers from across the Kingdom have been waiting decades for this mess to be cleaned up – so I am glad that some progress has been made on this issue and that the MoD has finally accepted responsibility."
Last week Newsnet Scotland revealed that UK Minister Murrison wanted the local authority to contribute to the clean-up, saying that the cost of maintaining sea defences, "would ordinarily and most appropriately fall to Fife Council."
Ms Ewing added: "Local residents will also be keen to ensure that Fife Council is not left out of pocket by any aspect of the clean-up – it would be entirely unacceptable for vital local services to be put at risk to pay for the UK Government’s mistakes.
"With this management plan now agreed on by key stakeholders, work to clean up the MoD’s mess must begin as soon as possible - and the UK Government must take steps to ensure that this type of thing never happens again so that communities like Dalgety Bay never have to live with this kind of radioactive contamination again."