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Saturday, 1 January, 2000, 08:25 GMT
Files reveal radioactive dump secrets

Forth Bridge Waste was regularly dumped in the Forth estuary


Scotland was regularly used as a dumping ground for radioactive waste, secret government files have revealed.

Files from the national archive, which have been kept secret for 30 years, show that radioactive waste was dumped in Scotland up to 1960.

The secret files also reveal:
  • A plan to provide student loans was scrapped in 1969
  • Proposals for all-seater football stadiums were mooted as early as 1960
  • Singer Frankie Vaughan helped curb gang violence in Glasgow.
The files, released by the Scottish Office under the 30-year rule, show barrels of radioactive waste were regularly dumped in the Forth estuary and some waste was burnt on land or dumped off the coast by Scottish companies in the 1950s.

At that time, the disposal of radioactive waste in Scotland was unregulated.


warning sign Waste can stay active for years
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency said that the lives of the public had not been put at risk.

She said: "At that time there was nothing like today's standards, but it is highly unlikely that any of the radioactivity will have found its way into the food chain.

"Radioactivity is an emotive subject, but man-made radioactivity only accounts for less than one percent of all radioactivity, the rest is from natural radiation.

"In certain cases waste can continue to be radioactive for thousands of years."

Loan scheme scrapped

Other secret papers indicate that the then Labour government was considering a student loan scheme to cope with the swelling numbers in colleges and universities, but the plan was abandoned in 1969.

In sport, a working party on crowd behaviour said more civilised surroundings and better behaviour by players would help cut down on crowd violence.

"The abolition of standing accommodation within a ground and its replacement by seating, preferably numbered seats, would do much to reduce misbehaviour among football fans," said the group's report.

The Frankie factor

Gang violence in Glasgow, the documents reveal, was also reduced by the efforts of singer Frankie Vaughan in Easterhouse in 1968.

Vaughan became involved in a high-profile attempt to curb the fighting and succeeded in gaining money from the government for a youth club on the estate.

Police records show there was a marked reduction in trouble in the months following his involvement.

Researchers at Glasgow University's School of Social Studies said: "It is arguable that the events following Mr Vaughan's proposals and the response of Glasgow citizens might be expected to have a positive and improving effect on the gang situation as regards violence."

Prison boss under fire

A report drawn up in 1965 says that Sandy Angus, the governor of Peterhead Prison, was more friendly with inmates than staff.

The officials who wrote the report called for him to be removed from the job.

They were investigating a complaint by the Prison Officers Association about an allegedly lax regime run by Mr Angus.

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See also:
19 Sep 99 |  Scotland
Glasgow 'peacemaker' Frankie Vaughan dies
29 Dec 99 |  Scotland
Santa's nuclear waste grotto
22 Dec 99 |  Scotland
Ministers seek common ground on fees

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