"Scotland's green watchdog played down the risks of radioactive contamination at a popular coastal resort in Fife following an 11th-hour intervention by government spin doctors," reports Rob Edwards. "Internal emails reveal the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) delayed and then altered a news release after it had been described as 'not entirely helpful' by a senior Scottish public relations official." The Sepa release announced a "hazard assessment," which found that radioactive waste dumped decades ago, after the closure of a naval air base, had resulted in 100 radiation hotspots. The area includes "Scotland's largest sailing club and a beach." The intervention by Scottish Executive PR official Neil Trotter resulted in major changes to the release. The original version estimated the likelihood of radioactive exposure to be "around 1 in 900 a year for the whole beach, and around 1 in 90 for the area with the greatest concentration" of waste. The published version merely stated the "likelihood of harm ... is considered to be low." Sepa denied that they had "tone[d] down" the release, saying, "The content of Sepa press releases is decided by Sepa."
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