Dalgety Bay

As Scotland’s environmental regulator, we monitor radioactive materials found at Dalgety Bay.

Located on the north side of the Forth Estuary in Fife, radioactive material was first detected on a part of the foreshore at Dalgety Bay in 1990.

Why is Dalgety Bay significant?

Radioactive material was first detected on a part of the foreshore at Dalgety Bay in 1990.

It is thought that the contamination originates from the residue of radium-coated instrument panels from military aircraft incinerated and land-filled in the area at end of World War II. Radium is a naturally occurring radioactive element and was historically used by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in luminescent paints.

What is SEPA’s involvement with Dalgety Bay?

We have undertaken a monitoring programme since radioactive materials were first discovered in the area and radioactive material has been removed periodically. In addition, many surveys have been undertaken on the beach to determine the potential numbers of items present and possible implications for public health.

We have compiled a number of reports on sources recovered from the area between September 2011 and December 2014:

More monitoring and assessment exercises – including our 2013 risk assessment – are published on our Reports page.  

What is the Ministry of Defence’s involvement with Dalgety Bay?

The MoD is undertaking a programme of investigation to determine the extent and magnitude of the contamination at Dalgety Bay, which forms part of our inspection of the land under the Radioactive Contaminated Land (Scotland) Regulations 2007 and will lead to the development of a remediation plan.

In the meantime, the MoD has committed to a programme of monthly monitoring and retrieval in the affected area at Dalgety Bay, which we oversee.

The detection and removal of radioactive particles close to the surface of the land reduces the possibility of a member of the public coming into contact with these particles. However, we urge the public to continue to follow the advice on signs at the site – don’t remove anything from the beach and wash your hands upon leaving the area.

Where can I find more information?

The Dalgety Bay forum was set up in 2005 to provide a forum for communication between the various public agencies responsible for dealing with the radioactive contamination at Dalgety Bay and its health effects and the local community. It meets approximately four times a year and reports and minutes are published on our website.

Our FAQs contains answers to the most commonly asked questions about the situation at Dalgety Bay. NHS Fifeand the Food Standards Agencyhave also produced more information on Dalgety Bay.

Contact us

If you require any more information or advice about Dalgety Bay, please contact us.