UK government pledges £255,000 for Blanefield land clean-up

Blanefield Print works The Blanefield calico print works was shut down at the end of the 19th Century

The UK government has pledged to meet part of the bill for cleaning up contaminated land at Blanefield in Stirlingshire.

Ministers are providing £255,000 to help with the cost of removing lead and arsenic contamination.

They have also urged the Scottish government to put up a similar amount of cash to allow work to get under way.

A Scottish government spokesman said it was continuing to look at how it could help residents.

Despite the UK government's pledge, homeowners on the contaminated ground face a huge bill to get the clean-up work completed.

In 2012, 13 households in the area were told their land was contaminated with traces of lead and arsenic.

'Unnecessary burden'

Land on the Blanefield site was believed to have been contaminated by chemicals from a Victorian printworks.

The inspection left homeowners on the contaminated ground liable for the clean-up costs, which amount to more than £600,000.

Stirling Council has offered £125,000 towards the clean-up.

Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury, urged the Scottish government to commit funding.

He said: "I am pleased that we are able to ring-fence this funding for the residents of Blanefield.

"I hope that the Scottish government will also help to solve this problem, and that this can be resolved as soon as possible."

'Huge relief'

A Scottish government spokesman said: "Landfill tax and the decision to exempt disposals of contaminated material is currently a matter for Westminster, who could simply exempt the residents of Blanefield altogether.

"The Treasury is expected to receive £300,000 from the residents of Blanefield and are simply giving them some - but not all - of that money back.

"The Scottish government has worked with the residents of Blanefield and local MSP Bruce Crawford on this issue and we will continue to look at how the Scottish government can assist in resolving the issue for Blanefield Community."

Stirling Council's environment committee convenor Councillor Danny Gibson welcomed the UK government's pledge.

He said: "Everyone involved is working to deliver the best outcome for Blanefield residents who have been affected through no fault of their own.

"This will be a huge relief for the residents affected."

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