Cash for chemical clean up on Blanefield


Blanefield residents caught up in a contamination nightmare are celebrating after ministers pledged £255,000 towards a clean up.

The cash will go towards the cost of removing traces of lead and arsenic found in some gardens in the village.

Homes affected were built on land occupied a century ago by a former Victorian printworks. It is thought to be the source of the chemicals.

Property owners found themselves liable for the clean-up costs, which amount to more than £600,000.

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.”

Stirling Council has already offered £125,000 towards the cost.

Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury said: “I am pleased we are able to ring-fence this funding for the residents of Blanefield.

He is urging the Scottish government to put up a similar amount of cash, to allow work to begin.

He said: “I hope the Scottish government will also help to solve this problem and that this can be resolved as soon as possible.”

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 Blanefield residents 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 we can assist in resolving the issue for the community of Blanefield.”

The chemicals can pose a potential health risk for people – with the greatest risk to children.

While short-term exposure can be a risk, the threat to health is believed to be greatest over prolonged periods.