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.”


2012-03-25 21:45

A sea wall? . would that be to keep the dangerous particles in or to keep the particles out there spreading far and wide?

A terrible legacy.
2012-03-25 21:56

“Radioactive contamination was first discovered at Dalgety Bay in 1990” and Gordon Brown is now “asking” for a timetable for the clean-up. One would have suspected that 22 years having passed since he was first alerted to this, it might have assumed a slightly higher priority than it obviously did. Just don’t ask about the rotting nuclear hulks at Rosyth…
J Wil
2012-03-25 23:10

His whole approach to everything is suspect.

2012-03-25 21:58

Its funny how Broon, nuclear waste, disaster, misery, environmental catastrophe, Unionism and the Labour Party always seem to be connected.
2012-03-25 22:12

G. Brown is rather pathetic.
He ignored the problem for years and
his efforts now seem to be rather weak.
He could easily get TV coverage and lots of publicity
for this problem but he fails to do so as it would reflect
on his rather dismal record as an MP for that area.
2012-03-25 22:38

The Fife Press suprisingly Labour supporting have been inventing stories. Gordon is wonderful and working to get this sorted out. Failing to inform the public he had to be pressured into even getting involved. Why should he be involved if he is having to work for his constituency he can’t be getting paid to give speeches.

Marga B
2012-03-25 22:20

Meanwhile, OT but a bit of light relief:

Advert in the Spanish press, with a wind farm in action in the background:

Edinburgh 1412 km
Sao Paulo 8667 km
New York 5690 km

The wind knows no boundaries.
Neither does our power.

World leader in wind power.
Bob Kingdom of Fife
2012-03-25 22:55

The sea-bed and foreshore around Scotland , we are led to believe are the property of ‘ the crown estate ‘ the fly tipper’s in this case were the ‘ ministry of defence ‘, SEPA, the Scottish Government Agency has declared Dalgety Bay , on 31st march 2012 a nuclear contaminated zone,the sitting mp has been posted missing on this issue until now. The good people of Fife should be informed as to what was actually dumped in this part of the Forth estuary , the crown estate and the mod are responsible for this pollution, they must de-contaminate this site of nuclear waste or be taken to the European court of human rights , to answer for this blatant disregard for the health and well being of the resident’s of Dalgety Bay in the Kingdom of Fife.
J Wil
2012-03-25 23:08

Disappointed with the emails as I had suspected that this contamination was about rather more than a few aircraft parts.

Perhaps Brown had decided to keep quiet about the risk and didn’t do anything about it.
2012-03-25 23:33

JW – don’t know where your coming from with this “disappointed” notion, in your comment.

Is it a few scrapped aircraft parts, or is it more than that – what do these e-mails reveal?

In any case – I think Brown’s been a bit tardy with this local problem. Could care more, could care less!
J Wil
2012-03-26 07:29

We have been through all this a number of times on these pages.

Suffice it to say that that the story that has been given in the media doesn’t seem to add up. Given what we know about politicians spinning yarns (Lockerbie is a case in point) there just seems to be more to this than they are saying.

call me dave
2012-03-25 23:50

As a young apprentice in the 60’s learning to do low voltage cable jointing I was often on the Donibristle /St Davids area later to be subsumed by Dalgety Bay housing estates and services rescuing buried cables.

Journeymen and jointer’s mates mentioned the dumping of wartime parts and rumours of contamination were whispered at that time. The control dials radium and radon seemed to be common knowledge as most of the older men had either been in the forces or had done their national service.

Later in the 70′ the GPO came round and took away trim phones from 1000’s houses and replaced them all for similar reasons I suspect.

There was some concern about the luminescent dial which glowed green in the dark. This effect came from a small glass tube of tritium gas, which gave off beta radiation and made the dial fluoresce. Although the radioactivity was equivalent only to that given off by a wristwatch it was felt wise to withdraw this facility as public concern over radioactivity grew.

They later were dumped somewhere in Stirlingshire ? in a land fill site from what is left of my memory banks.

2012-03-25 23:20

One wonders what the response would have been had this been in Kent.
2012-03-25 23:34

Fungus – why ask!

2012-03-26 00:44

True 🙂
2012-03-26 10:47

Given his infrequent appearance at Westminster is Culpability Brown still claiming expenses for the London Flat which he shares/shared with his brother?
It would be interesting to see deatils of his Parliamentary Expenses since his fall from power – I don’t suppose there will be many claims for travel between his constituency and Westminster.
2012-03-26 11:45

I am still amazed by G. Brown’s total failure as PM.
However it is probably a prime example of where
ego/ambition exceeds ability.

Surely he could try an be competent as an MP.
2012-03-26 14:54

I’m only surprised that North British Broon actually remembers where Dalgety Bay is!

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