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Dalgety Bay: Radioactive Material

Volume 709: debated on Monday 21 February 2022

7. What recent discussions officials in his Department have had with representatives of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency on radioactive material detected at Dalgety Bay following the disposal of aircraft in that area after the second world war. (905590)

I am delighted that we are en route to the complete remediation of Dalgety Bay. Environmental sensitivities inevitably have a significant impact on the length of time that it is taking to complete the project. MOD and SEPA officials last met formally on 24 November. SEPA also has representatives on site continually to monitor the work that is being undertaken.

I give the apologies of my hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian (Kenny MacAskill), who has been turfed off a train on his way to the House.

I thank the Minister for that answer. The people of Dalgety Bay in my Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency have had to put up with radioactive waste on the shore since the second world war. Thanks to the dogged determination of my predecessor, Roger Mullin, and my persistence, work on that began last May. However, the Ministry promised me and the community that it would keep us updated on progress, but we have had nothing from the MOD since May 2021. Will the Minister say why, and make sure that an update is forthcoming?

I can give the hon. Gentleman an update now. As I think he is aware, we assumed that it would take two seasons to do the complete remediation. I very much hoped that it would therefore have been concluded by the autumn of this year. He is aware of the issues with birdlife that ensure that there is only a set period of time in which we can work. We applied for, and got, extended time to work last summer, and we will apply again for extended time this year. I hope that that will be sufficient, but I have to share with the hon. Gentleman that work may not be concluded until 2023. I hope that that will not be the case, but it is possible; we are keeping it under review. I will write further to the hon. Gentleman.