UK Government e-mails raise further fears over Dalgety Bay contamination

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By Andrew Barr
 
Hundreds of internal UK Government e-mails revealing fears of radioactive contamination at Dalgety Bay have been obtained by a Scottish Sunday newspaper.
 
According to the Sunday Herald the chairman of the UK government’s advisory Committee on the Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment, Professor Alex Elliot, has accused the Health Protection Agency of downplaying the public health risks from Fife’s Dalgety Bay.

By Andrew Barr
 
Hundreds of internal UK Government e-mails revealing fears of radioactive contamination at Dalgety Bay have been obtained by a Scottish Sunday newspaper.
 
According to the Sunday Herald the chairman of the UK government’s advisory Committee on the Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment, Professor Alex Elliot, has accused the Health Protection Agency of downplaying the public health risks from Fife’s Dalgety Bay.

It has emerged that contaminated shellfish from the area have also now been officially deemed unfit to eat.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is challenging the MoD’s refusal to accept liability for the pollution by threatening to designate Dalgety Bay as the UK’s first official radioactively contaminated territory.

SEPA has previously given the MoD until the 31st of March in order to clean up the area before the official designation. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown will be attending a public meeting on Tuesday to discuss the issue.

Mr Brown has faced questions over his own government’s lack of action when the seriousness of the matter became evident in an MoD report.  In 2009 when Mr Brown was Prime Minister, the MoD’s own scientists refused to analyse particles from the site because of the risk it could give them cancer.

The MoD’s refusal to prioritise the clean-up has been condemned by SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing who has questioned the Ministry’s commitment to public safety.

Ms Ewing, SNP MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, said:

“These emails reveal the MoD has refused to put the safety of the people of Fife first.

“It’s extremely disturbing to hear the UK’s health watchdog has been accused of downplaying the risks of the contamination by one of its own leading advisers.

“This has gone on far too long – the people of Fife deserve better than this.

“It’s disgusting the length of time it has taken for the MoD to come up with a plan on how to address this situation – and we don’t yet know what this plan details.

“The MoD say it has shown “serious commitment” to helping Sepa with Dalgety Bay but so far I have failed to see this.

“They have avoided dealing with this clean-up for over two decades so where is the commitment in that?

“The main concern should be for the people of Fife and I hope at the meeting on Tuesday this will be apparent.”

Radioactive contamination was first discovered at Dalgety Bay in 1990, and is suspected to have originated from aircraft disposed of in the area after the Second World War.

Over 2500 radioactive hotspots have been found, about a third of which have only been discovered since September last year.

Mr Brown, who is the MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, said:

“I will be asking for a timetable for a clean-up plan for the area to be implemented.

“We need not only a plan for continuous monitoring but a plan for the removal of radioactive particles, and either a sea wall or other remedial work to prevent particles causing safety fears again.”