Scottish Government backs Emma Harper's call for safety checks at Beaufort's Dyke

South Scotland list MSP Emma Harper has won support from the Scottish Government as she campaigns for the UK Government to disclose whether Beaufort’s Dyke is regularly risk assessed and safety checked.

Monday, 9th August 2021, 4:55 pm
It is estimated up to a million tons of munitions have been dumped in Beaufort's Dyke

Ms Harper has raised questions over the safety of an estimated increase in unexploded ordnance washing ashore on Dumfries and Galloway beaches, such as Luce Bay, Portpatrick, Stranraer and Port William.

According to the MOD over 50,000 tons of munitions were dumped in the North Channel, however the figure may actually be higher, with some estimates stating up to a million tons since the end of World War One.

The MOD has refused to say whether the site has been, or is being, risk assessed, prompting Ms Harper to write to the Scottish Secretary and submit an FOI to the MOD, but is yet to receive a response.

She has though received a positive response from Justice Secretary Keith Brown who is contacting the UK’s Defence Secretary outlining the Scottish Government' s strong concerns on the issue.

Ms Harper said: “I don’t think many people across Wigtownshire are happy with a radioactive dumpsite on their door step.

"To think that this site is not regularly safety checked, and that it is responsible for what is perceived to be an increase of unexploded bombs washing ashore our beaches, is deeply concerning.

“I welcome the Scottish Government contacting the UK Government to request urgent clarity over the safety of Beaufort’s Dyke and encourage everyone visiting our beaches to be vigilant of any metallic or rusty metal container that may wash ashore.

"Given it may actually be an unexploded bomb or chemical weapon, I urge them to call the Coastguard, which has also produced a helpful guide for what to do if you come across unexploded ordnance.”

Mr Brown said: “The recent examples of unexploded ordnance washing ashore is a stark reminder of the risk they present to people and the environment.

“I will write to the Secretary for State for Defence outlining the Scottish Government's strong concerns on this issue and seek clarification on whether the MOD has recently analysed all current and future risks.”