Plans to tackle Dalgety Bay radiation expected to be approved by councillors

© DC Thomson
Part of the beach at Dalgety Bay where radioactive particles have been found.

Long awaited plans to tackle radiation at the shoreline in Dalgety Bay are expected to be agreed on Wednesday.

West Planning Committee has been given a recommendation to approve the Ministry of Defence’s proposal to remove and contain radioactive contamination first discovered at the Fife coast in 1990.

Isolating particles of radium-226 found to be buried in the headland beside Dalgety Bay Sailing Club will require the installation of a geotextile membrane and rock armour to prevent the contaminated land from eroding further.

Under the proposal, particles with a radioactive value of 40kBq – which is about the same as some smoke detectors – would be removed from the site.

It is anticipated the work will happen during the summers of 2018 and 2019, from April to September.

Before work can start on site, an investigation will have to be carried out into the extent of the contamination and there is a question mark over what is contained at the headland.

The planning report being considered by the committee states: “In the event that contamination not previously identified by the developer prior to the grant of this planning permission is encountered during the development, all works on site shall cease immediately and the local planning authority shall be notified in writing within two working days.”

Should this happen, a remediation strategy would have to be approved by the council before works recommence.

Nearly 30,000 tonnes of rock armour will be installed at the foreshore, arriving on a 160ft barge.

“A total of 31 barge-loads would be required over the two, six-month construction periods,” said the report.

“This transportation method would greatly reduce the total number of heavy goods vehicle movements that would have been required from an anticipated worst case scenario equivalent of 2,650 two-way vehicle movements over the construction period,” said the report.

The report went on to explain that this would be equivalent to 22 vehicle movements a day, but by using a barge vehicle movements are reduced to 30 over the whole project.

Only one objection was received by Fife Council in relation to the plans. This was from a resident who was concerned about the proximity of the works facilities compound.

According to the planning report, potential impacts on neighbouring properties had been “fully addressed”.