The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) echoes the concern of Fife councillors, local MSPs and MPs, and even the environmental regulator SEPA with the lack of communication from the Ministry of Defence over the clean-up of the Dalgety Bay site.
Parts of the Dalgety Bay shoreline in Fife have radioactive particles deriving from radium dials in aeroplanes which were dumped underground and have slowly been leaking into the environment. After taking years to accept liability, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) have been for some considerable time planning to clean up the local contaminated area around the shoreline close to the Dalgety Bay Sailing Club.
A couple of months ago the MOD admitted that work to start remediation of the site and removing radioactive particles had been delayed due to not getting the necessary licence for the work. This means it will not start until spring 2021 at the earliest.
At a meeting this morning of the South and West Fife Area Committee a presentation on remediation of the site was provided by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA). The MOD were requested to attend, but did not. It should be noted that last year the MOD had tried to suggest local stakeholders were behind delays to the project and this year they said, “the necessary licence to the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency has been delayed”, inferring some fault may lie with SEPA.
At the Area Committee this morning Fife’s NFLA representative Cllr David Barratt, who attended the meeting, noted to the NFLA that SEPA stated they were disappointed by the lack of communication from the MOD and confirmed that they had received no application and no paperwork from it on the permitting required to proceed with works. (1)
The local community around Dalgety Bay have been let down time and again by the MOD in clearing the radioactive particles around the shoreline, which they have admitted is their responsibility to do. It is concerning how the MOD has tried to blame other organisations for recent delays, when it is clear that it is their own failings which at the centre of these problems. Another winter will now go by before remediation work is started, meaning the radiation risk to the public remains. NFLA is sure that Fife Council and SEPA will do all they can to keep the public away from the risk, and calls on the MOD to get full approval for remediation work resolved as soon as possible so that the work can begin.
The lack of communication on the MOD’s nuclear legacy is a recurring problem. The slow work to dismantle redundant nuclear submarines at the Rosyth site, also in Fife, some years after it was agreed with all stakeholders on what should be done, is also a matter of concern for NFLA. During that period of engagement the MOD was congratulated for its listening to the issues of the community, but since then there has been little public comment on progress with the dismantling project. NFLA calls for an update so that the communities around Fife and the country are made aware of what is going on and how dismantling is progressing.
NFLA Scotland Convener, Councillor Feargal Dalton commented:
“NFLA Scotland calls on the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to do much more in engaging with the local community around Dalgety Bay to explain why there have been ongoing delays in cleaning the area of radioactive particles. That there is yet another delay over this winter is very disappointing and it keeps a radiation risk to the public in place for at least another six months and longer. With the lack of public announcements as well on the submarine dismantling project it is becoming clear that the MOD also need to urgently review the way they explain to the public how they are dealing with their nuclear legacy, as it is clearly not working at the moment.”
NFLA’s representative for Fife Council and local Dalgety Bay ward councillor David Barratt added:
“This remediation project has been years in the pipeline so how on earth can an organisation like the MOD reach a critical point in the programme only to realise they haven’t got the right permits in place? The South and West Fife Area Committee are rightly going to express our real frustration on this matter with the MOD, but to date any attempt to communicate with them on this matter has been met with deafening silence unless we communicate via the media. This is no way to treat local communities or elected representatives and the MOD’s behaviour is duplicitous.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes to Editors:
(1) Reported to the NFLA by Cllr Barratt who attended the Area Committee today.