Work starts to remove contamination at former Fife gas works

The former Gas Works site an Leslie is under going de-contamination by Fife Council contractors. Picutre: Steven Brown Photography
The former Gas Works site an Leslie is under going de-contamination by Fife Council contractors. Picutre: Steven Brown Photography
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A clean-up programme, which includes the removal of contaminated land, has started at the site of the former gas works in Leslie.

The work, being undertaken by Fife Council’s land and air quality team, is part of a wide-reaching programme across the region to clean up the residue of the Kingdom’s industrial past.

Older residents will remember the gas works operating at its Mansfield site in the town until the 1970s, and while in later years some of the site has since been redeveloped, some land still remains.

Work has now started this week to remove waste left by former industrial activity, mainly coal tar residues at the site, before replacing and landscaping it with top soil.

Kenny Bisset, lead officer said: “This short-term work will involve removing and replacing soil which may result in occasional, short-lived tar-like odours. However, these will be appropriately managed to minimise any inconvenience to local residents.

“A part of the adjacent car park at the Back Braes park will be sectioned off for our site compound but access to the rest of the car park and the recycling point will remain.

“We’d like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience the temporary work may cause. We will do our best to keep any disruption to a minimum.”

The programme at the Leslie site is expected to take around two months to complete and has been welcomed by councillors.

“We need to give credit where credit is due, the Council has identified a need to carry out the removal of the contamination and is doing just that,” said Cllr John Wincott, speaking at this week’s Leslie Community Council meeting.

“I’m sure the community will welcome any such improvement and I’ve been assured that there is no risk to health to the community.”

As with all local authorities, Fife Council has a legal duty to investigate former industrial sites to ensure there are no unacceptable risks to people and the environment.

This work is carried out under the Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy and has already highlighted over 4000 former industrial sites in Fife and completed an initial study at 1590 of these.

In-depth investigations have now taken place at 152 of those, which has resulted in the remedial action at the first of 11 of those site, including the former Leslie gas works under that strategy.