crumbling away ...

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THE rapid erosion of part of Fife’s coast has led to a second crucial meeting taking place this week, in a bid to save large parts of Dysart’s sea front from falling into the water.

The crumbling land, which is all part of the Frances bing, has been spilling into the sea over the past two years, with stormy tides and bad weather over the winter quickening the erosion.

On Tuesday Fife Council met with the Coal Authority to determine who is responsible for the bing - and whether the coal waste going into the water and on to surrounding beaches is harmful.

Robbie Blyth, beaches and coastal officer for Fife Council, told the Press the local authority’s main concern is to make sure walkers and residents in the area are safe.

He said: “The walkway and Dovecot park have been cordoned off.

Safety concerns

‘‘Our main concern is the health and safety of people at the beach and surrounding areas.

‘‘If you are standing right next to the bing then of course this would be dangerous, which is why the area is cordoned off - but we don’t know about the environmental dangers of the coal going into the water and onto the beaches.

‘’Our next step is to get the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) involved and they will determine if there are any problems there.

“There were concerns expressed at the meeting by local members as to what effect the coal from the bing will have on the coast line - the surrounding beaches used to be black with coal, but it has been cleaned up over the years.

Industrial legacy

‘‘One of the concerns is that with the rapid erosion this could happen again. Unfortunately this is a legacy of our industrial past.

“We are trying to make sure the safety message gets across, but we also want people to remember there are a lot of quality beaches in Fife, and hopefully we can get this one sorted out.”

The issue first came to light after residents contacted local members to express their concerns over the falling bing. Last year the coastal path was named runner up in the 2010 Joules Award for the UK’s Best Coastal Path and was the highest-rated Scottish coastal path.

The two authorities and SEPA will now carry out a study of the area.