My officials met Ministry of Defence officials on 2 November to discuss the progress that has been made by the consultants whom the MOD appointed to identify the extent of contamination at Dalgety Bay. The Dalgety Bay forum will meet on 19 December to receive an update on the progress that the MOD has made. That will be the forum's first meeting since April. I am pleased to say that its membership has been extended to include the community council and the sailing club, which previously were not represented. I will report the outcome of the meeting to Helen Eadie.
I am delighted that the community council has been embraced as part of the forum. Is the minister aware that the residents of Dalgety Bay have experienced the problem for more than 16 years? Also, is he aware that hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent on studies
I am conscious of the continuing importance of the matter to Helen Eadie. She will be aware that the matter is essentially one for the MOD, because it is reserved. She will also be aware that the latest decision to have a study specifically to identify the extent of the contamination was made as a result of pressure from her and others in the area. All that I can do is ensure that the MOD—which we meet regularly—provides the answers, so that a plan can be produced as quickly as possible to deal with the contamination.
In his evidence on the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Bill, the minister asserted that some Ministry of Defence plans and programmes in relation to the environment would be covered by the bill. Is he aware of any strategic plans that the MOD has for clearing up radioactive mess around Scotland and the UK? Does the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 apply to those plans and programmes?
I am not aware of any MOD plans or programmes, but I remain of the view that, if a public body produces a proposal or plan that would have a material environmental impact, it should be caught by the 2005 act. If the member has information that suggests that the MOD has such plans, I would be happy to pursue that.