Dalgety Bay: Summer start for long-awaited beach clean-up

Scottish environment bosses have confirmed long-awaited Dalgety Bay clean-up works are unlikely to start until later in the summer despite public access already being restricted at the coast.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 8:20 am
Signs are in place ahead of work starting on Dalgety Bay beach clean up

Local councillor Cllr David Barratt (SNP) says the Ministry of Defence is playing "start date roulette" ahead of the operation to remove radioactive materials from the beach.

Earlier this month the MoD said it aimed to begin the project on July 1 - but Fife Council planners are understood to have been told works would begin three months earlier, on April 1.

Scottish environmental body SEPA has now confirmed that the works cannot begin until it has formally approved Balfour Beatty's permit application - a process that takes several months.

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The contractor submitted its application last November but problems with its paperwork meant SEPA did not fully accept the application, or start processing it, until last week.

Dr Paul Dale, SEPA’s radioactive substances manager, said the body was "disappointed" that the date will be missed, adding: "The determination can be up to four months, however, we will aim to do this as quickly as possible.

"Currently, our experts in radioactive substances continue to engage with the contractor every two weeks to facilitate progress.

"SEPA will only issue an EASR (Scottish environmental regulations) permit once we are confident that the planned work will bring about the appropriate remediation of the site so restrictions can be lifted and the matter can be permanently closed.

“The area is still subject to advisory signage and access restrictions remain in place and in addition the MoD contractor continues to monitor the beach on a monthly basis, including during the lockdown period, to ensure that the risk to the public is minimised.”

A Balfour Beatty spokeswoman said: “The application for Dalgety Bay has been accepted by SEPA and we are working with the relevant bodies on this.

“We are confident we can start work as soon as possible. However, we are unable to share the details of a start date at this time.”

The clean-up relates to the discovery of traces of radium-226, an iridescent material once used to coat airplane instruments, in the 1990s.

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