Thursday, 3 January 2013

Dalgety Bay the saga drags on and on......

The MOD needs to accept liability for the contamination at Dalgety Bay so that the contamination can properly identified, managed and dealt with; claims by those who suffered blight etc can be addressed. The MOD needs to implement the principles of environmental justice in its policies and decision making.

MODs reluctance to accept liability may be influenced by the precedent that might be set for the hundreds of other contaminated sites the MOD sold off since WW2, such as RAF Pulham in Norfolk

Dunfermline Press reports :- 

GORDON BROWN has asked the head of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) to  make an early decision on who is responsible for the radiation leaks at Dalgety Bay. He said this was now essential if the remedial action plan to clean up the Bay area was to go ahead and be funded. It was time, he said, to name who was guilty for the leaks so further delays in cleaning up could be avoided.

He has written to SEPA after a letter to Dalgety Bay Community Council from the Ministry of  Defence. In it the Ministry says it cannot agree to fund the clean-up until SEPA makes a decision as to who is responsible for the damage at the Bay's foreshore.

In his letter Mr Brown says the delays have to be brought to an end and he wants clean-up work to begin next May. Mr Brown, who has already met the Defence Secretary and held a Parliamentary debate on the issues, told SEPA, "It is clear that we will not make progress on the remediation plan until a decision is made about responsibility for the contamination and in that context I am writing to ask when you will make a determination on this issue.

"As we understand it there has yet to be conclusive evidence suggesting that other parties than the Ministry of Defence may be responsible for the dumping of radiation materials. "The MOD say they will only fund the clean-up if they are held to be liable by you and I hope you can 
tell me when we can come to a conclusion on this matter.

"The people of Dalgety Bay have been very patient. We cannot continue with the prevarication and passing of the buck on who is responsible.

"A decision should be made as quickly as possible to protect the May 2013 timetable for the start of the clean-up."

My personal view has always been; that the evidence proves that the MOD was the probable source of the radium contamination and that by denying liability MOD has and continues to waste large amounts taxpayers payers money over the period of 20 or more years since the contamination was discovered.  

It is also very convenient that the papers relating to the sale of Dalgety Bay which may have provided key evidence about liability cannot be found. 

"Dalgety Bay the MOD is unable to locate records about the sale of radioactively contaminated land  and the local Community Council appeals to the public for their help."

Its notable that the MOD is looking find a sites to break apart the decommissioned nuclear 
submarines including Roysth a few miles west of Dalgety Bay

NIS report

"MoD has published a Request for Information in the Defence Contracts Bulletin and the Official Journal of the European Union seeking responses from private owners of nuclear licensed sites in the UK that may, subject to a comprehensive and publicly transparent site selection process, be able to meet its intermediate level waste storage requirements.

Babcock Marine, owners of the Rosyth and Devonport dockyards which are being considered as candidate sites for dismantling of the redundant submarines"

In view of the way in which the MOD has handled the contamination of the beach and foreshore at Dalgety Bay, it  will be interesting to see to what extent there is public and political support in 
Scotland for the dismantling work to take place at Rosyth.

From an ethical point of view  the choice of Rosyth could be seen the MOD taking advantage of an economically disadvantaged community by holding out the chance of some short term work in exchange for taking on the legacy of the nuclear submarine programme.  Dalgety Bay provides an example of the consequences of a  legacy left by past defence activities.