Two Fife beaches are likely to remain closed to the public for the foreseeable future as investigations into an oil spill in the Forth continue.
Fife Council and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) say good progress has been made with regard to the the clean-up operation around Limekilns and Charlestown following the shock discovery of what initially appeared to be a diesel spillage early on Tuesday morning.
Those probing the incident say the source of the incident remains unclear, although early indications point to an “isolated” incident which is not ongoing.
However, signs have been erected at both beaches urging people to avoid the areas and not to take anything home from the beach while work continues to ascertain exactly what has happened.
Initial thoughts were the substance was a light refined diesel which had come from a drain on land, but further inquiries suggest the incident may have happened out at sea.
A statement from Fife Council said: “Progress is being made to clear contaminated seaweed and clean up the coastline around Limekilns and Charlestown following an oil based spill in the area.
“Fife Council is working with partners including SEPA, Scottish National Heritage, NHS Fife, Marine Scotland, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and their specialist contractor Briggs Marine to deal with the situation.
“Samples are currently being tested by SEPA and investigations into the source of the pollution are ongoing.
“The affected areas remain closed to the public.”
Forth Ports was alerted to the spill and a pollution response vehicle was sent to the scene to investigate.
A cordon was put up at Limekilns and Charlestown as investigations began, and the local authority put up warning signs instructing people to stay away in the meantime.
Locals said sealife appears to have been largely unaffected, with just one goose – which was spotted with oil on its beak and underside – seen to fly off.
Fife Coast and Countryside Trust has been leading the clear-up operation and has had diggers on site scooping up contaminated seaweed and other affected materials to stop it going back out to sea.
SEPA officials are understood to have walked a significant distance along the coastline to see if any other areas were affected but the incident appears to be contained to Limekilns and Charlestown.