Spinning Bout the Nukes in the Bay

"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."


Rob Edwards is himself as guilty of spinning as anyone else involved in this sad story.

He should really make it clear that the radioactive waste is the luminous paint from the dials of scrapped aircraft instruments which were dumped on the beach many years ago.