I felt the time right to update you on a number of key issues that surround the club and let you now where the club is presently and where we see ourselves going over the forthcoming year.
As you will be well aware from the media, and from recent club correspondence, the club is involved in issues with regard to Radium contamination of the foreshore surrounding the clubs grounds as well as within the confines of the clubs grounds itself.
The good news is that having taken advice from SEPA they have stated that it is safe to keep sailing and using the club grounds with the understanding that we follow the simple advice given that we do not remove any material from the foreshore, we wash our hands when we leave the foreshore and we observe good hygiene practices to minimise the risk of contamination from the foreshore.
In addition we have prepared a club based risk assessment to cover the launch and recovery of dinghies from the clubs slipways and this has been placed on our website, on a page dedicated entirely to safety.
We have submitted this risk assessment to SEPA for approval and they have deemed it appropriate and sufficient to allow us to access the water from the clubs three slipways and as such if we observe this methodology, and make sure our children are kept from the foreshore, then the risks of contamination are reduced to an acceptable level.
To this end we are happy to continue with club “business as usual” but observing the good practice as detailed on the signs surrounding the club and observing the clubs risk assessment for using the slipway to launch dinghies.
You will notice in the club calendar, placed on the website, that we are running two regattas this year however our first regatta shall be a members regatta to ensure that young children, unfamiliar with the need to observe the necessary hygiene practices, are not exposed to any possible risks.
We shall also be running the Tuesday training and it is scheduled that the Wednesday racing will take place as previous years and I do hope that members will support this in ensuring this is well attended . Should you wish to get involved please do contact us and we will do our best to make sure its an easy path to getting your feet wet.
Finally I am delighted to say that we shall be running our annual “Youth Week” where the younger members shall be training and honing their sailing skills during the summer holiday and I am sure you will all agree that this is one of the key areas of our club…encouraging new members to start sailing and ensuring that we have a good foundation in place to keep the club going from strength to strength in the forthcoming years.
To update you on where the club stands with regards to the Radium contamination you will be aware that high activity sources were found buried in the foreshore, adjacent to the East boundary between the club grounds and Fife council property .
It is now apparent that there are a number of further sources of Radium; one being under the headland , where the estuary is eroding the shoreline to the front of the clubhouse ,and another being the eroding edge located opposite the keel boat trailer park, adjacent to the pathway leading to the Ross plantation.
To give you a little more detail SEPA, who are responsible for the monitoring of the contamination as well as administering Government legislation, have carried out extremely thorough and detailed surveys of the majority of the clubs grounds and within the last year have further surveyed the foreshore, in great detail, as well as the headland to the front of the clubhouse, in an attempt to better understand the source and extent of the Radium and the manner in which it is being distributed along the foreshore. Additional monitoring has been undertaken by the MoD contractor and this is to assist them in understanding the problem and coming up with a solution to the satisfaction of SEPA.
We have been in close contact with SEPA, MoD and were recently visited by Gordon Brown MP and the Minister for Defence, Andrew Robothan. Having hosted a number of meeting between these parties, and also individually ,we are trying to lobby to have the situation addressed and the polluter clean u and make good the contamination.
Being part of the Dalgety Bay Forum group we also meet regularly with affected parties to make sure we are all aware of the latest issues and this will continue until a resolution is achieved
SEPA have declared that they deem the MOD as a “suitable person” effectively naming them as the main suspect in contaminating the area and are currently working with them to come up with a solution to address the issue and produce a plan to administer the solution to the satisfaction of SEPA and the club, as landowner. A draft plan has been submitted by MOD but was deemed as insufficient in detail by SEPA who are now working closely with MOD to assist them in achieving what SEPA see as a suitable proposal for remediation but it is however becoming apparent that the resolution will not be reached quickly and that the issue will affect our club for the forthcoming season and potentially longer.
I would hope that with club and political lobbying, continued pressure and co-operation with SEPA, that we can arrive at a solution which both reduces the issue of long term contamination and re-contamination to an acceptable level and allows the club to continue to flourish and provide excellent sailing facilities for all its members