By a Newsnet reporter
SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing has condemned the attitude of the UK Government on Dalgety Bay as an insult to Fifers – after the Ministry of Defence said that they expect Fife Council to help pay for the clean-up costs and flood defences from the radioactive contamination caused by the Ministry of Defence.
Ms Ewing has received a response to her letter from the MoD which states that they believe Fife Council should pick up the costs – despite the radium contamination on the beach being entirely the fault of the MoD.
Despite confirming the MoD would make a “large contribution” to the implementation of a ‘Management Strategy’ drawn up by itself, UK Minister Andrew Murrison added: “Whilst SEPA has confirmed its willingness to resume responsibility for routine monitoring once implementation is complete, there is also a need for a funding committment to maintain the sea defences.
“This would ordinarily and most appropriately fall to Fife Council.”
The MoD’s attitude risks placing pressure on the council budget in Fife – meaning that communities already suffering under Westminster’s austerity agenda risk seeing vital local services cut. The ministry has recently faced criticism for its attempts to block a report which warned that the radioactive contamination of military sites such as Dalgety Bay could pose a risk to public health.
Commenting, Mid Scotland and Fife SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing said:
“This letter is just the latest in a series of insults to people in Fife from the MoD. The UK Government’s attitude on Dalgety Bay has been nothing short of disgraceful.
“People from across Fife will be wondering why the UK Government thinks that council funds – which should be spent on vital local services – should be spent clearing up the MoD’s mess.”
In November 2011, the MoD refused to accept responsibility for the contamination, something condemned at the time by Ms Ewing. In 2012, the MSP also revealed how Westminster knew of the contamination half a century ago, but kept the revelations secret.
However, earlier this year, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) concluded that the radioactive contamination that led to the closure of Dalgety Bay was caused by the actions of the MoD. In its report, SEPA pointed to radioactive materials which were routinely incinerated and buried in the area surrounding the Bay.
Ms Ewing added: “Residents of Dalgety Bay and Fifers from across the Kingdom have been waiting decades for this mess to be cleaned up – they simply shouldn’t have to wait any longer.
“The MoD can’t keep passing the buck on this issue – the UK Government need to take responsibility and fully fund the clean-up of Dalgety Bay immediately.”
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