THE CONVENOR of the Moray Greens who is also Chairman of the Forres Area Community Trust has accused The Ministry of Defence of leaving behind a toxic legacy at RAF Kinloss, and failing to provide adequate economic support for the local community in the wake of withdrawal of the RAF from the base.
Fabio Villani made his comments after it was revealed that SEPA were carrying out an investigation folowing revelations that contmaination may be present on the perimeter of the base from dismantled World War II aircraft and from liquid chemicals - which are buried there.
"The UK government and the Ministry of Defence should have repaid the loyalty shown by the local community over the last 70 years by providing an economic package to support the regeneration of the local economy," he said. "It seems that what we got instead is a toxic legacy shrouded in secrecy."
The revelations have provoked a mixed reaction in the local community.
Meanwhile, a meeting is due to take place today between Moray MP Angus Robertson who is the SNP’s Shadow Defence Secretary and Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond to disucuss the issue.
The meeting comes on the back of reports – highlighted in the media over the weekend – of possible contamination, from dismantled World War II aircraft and chemical weaponry, buried on the perimeter of the base.
SEPA confirmed that they would be carrying out an investigation on the back of the fresh claims, although they are believed to have known about the contamination since 2004, when a water treatment plant was constructed (known as the reed bed project) to treat and take run-off from the airfield to the bay.
The natural reed beds acted as a water treatment plant to deal with the contaminated water, from the runway, and directed via a pipeline to The Moray Firth, once cleaned.
Neighbours whose properties the pipeline crossed were contacted about the issue. This included the Findhorn Foundation, who said they were aware of the issue at the time, although have called for full disclosure of information.
Former RAF officer Tony Galloway – who was Officer in Charge of Admin at the time – was invovled in the 2004 project and recalled that the Ministry of Defence informed SEPA of possible small amounts of contamination, from the radion dials of the old dismantled WWII aeroplanes, which they knew to be buried to the west of the bomb dump, and they liaised in full with the authority who directed them throughout, which he said was a matter of public record.
Chairman of the Findhorn and Kinloss Community Council Les Morgan said he agreed with the general principle of 'transparency', but was under the impression, that it was originally decided that the level of threat to the public was such that it need not be disclosed.
" In due course if it is proved that this was a bad decision we need to know the full details," he said.
Newly elected Moray Council representative Anne Skene said she knew that aircraft were broken up on a specific area at RAF Kinloss and it was likely that there was resulting contamination." Last week we heard that there may be radioactive contamination from aircraft instruments, which fits with what I had understood," she said. "It is important that the local community know about and understand the risks." she added: "Transparency is essential."
Full story and reaction in this week’s edition.