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Blanefield residents clean up with £255,000 government cash

Residents of a Stirlingshire village are celebrating after UK ministers pledged to meet part of the bill for cleaning up contaminated land.

The UK Government is providing £255,000 to help with the cost of removing lead and arsenic contamination at Blanefield in East Stirlingshire.

They are also urging the Scottish Government to put up a similar amount of cash, to allow the work to get under way.

After an inspection by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in 2012, 13 households in the area were told their land was contaminated with traces of lead and arsenic.

The chemicals are said to be a remnant from a Victorian printworks, which has long gone out of business.

That leaves the current owners of the land liable for the clean-up costs, which amount to more than £600,000 in total.

Stirling Council has offered £125,000 towards the clean-up, with the UK Government now contributing £255,000.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander urged the Scottish Government to follow suit and commit funding.

He said: "I am pleased that we are able to ringfence 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."

Economic Secretary to the Treasury Nicky Morgan said: "I am delighted that we are able to help the residents of Blanefield with a proportion of the cost of removing this contamination.

"I hope that we are able to resolve this matter quickly, working with the local authority and Scottish Government, to ensure that residents do not bear this unnecessary burden."

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