Dalgety Bay Sailing Club has been accused of grabbing defeat out of the jaws of victory as the row over radiation remediation rumbles on.
With a potential year’s delay to the long-awaited clean-up starting, it could now be the summer of 2019 before the Defence Infrastructure Organisation gets onto the site, contaminated by radioactive Second World Ware debris dumped by the MoD.
Representing the DIO, Stephen Ritchie told south west Fife councillors the project was behind schedule for several reasons, including finding a willing contractor and difficulty in arranging access.
“We thought we had got that cleared up but recently one of the landowners decided to change their view with regard to giving us access.
“That is going to further complicate things,” he said.
While there was good news that a contractor had been found, the initial survey work has been delayed as the sailing club had removed access agreement.
He feared more hurdles would be put in place at each step of the work.
He said he wanted to see the job done but the club “seems to be able to grab defeat out of the jaws of victory at every turn”.
He said its stance at the latest meeting was “quite a shocker to be quite blunt”.
He claimed the situation was one-sided with the club wanting to benefit.
“It’s black and white, if you do not do this, this and this you are not getting access,” he said.
With each delay costing money, the fear was that the current budget could not be guaranteed if the impasse dragged on.
What was in no-one’s interest was to pursue what would be a lengthy legal route to ensuring the work, currently being done voluntarily by the MoD, was completed.
Councillor Gavin Yates said it was in nobody’s interest to drag this out one day longer than it needs to be.
“Going to a legal route meant everyone loses.
“Forget about landowners, the whole community would be damaged irreparably.”
He called for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to continue with positive discussions
SEPA’s Paul Dale agreed a “pinch point” loomed, but SEPA would continue to engage over the next few weeks, talking to all parties to seek a resolution.
He believed progress could be made.
Mr Ritchie said he had no doubt Mr Dale will get some agreement, with a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, but he said the attitude of landowners needed to change.
The sailing club’s David Williams, said the claims are incorrect and an access agreement had expired because the DIO had not managed to complete a study on time.
He said: “We were aware of that expiry date and raised this with the DIO at a meeting, which we requested, on January 17.
“We wrote to them on January 23 and again on February 2, offering to sign another extension, but they didn’t respond.
“We also contacted SEPA on February 10 to see if they could help progress since we’d been advised that survey work was now due to start around February 22.”
Mr Williams stressed that the club had been very proactive and had cooperated fully with the DIO and third parties, including SEPA, from the outset to address the issues arising from radioactive material left on its land by the MoD and continued to do so.
“We are however frustrated with the lack of progress and commitment from the DIO to address a number of practical concerns that affect our 450 sailing club members and the wider community, which we have been trying to resolve with them for over two years.”