Tests are to be carried out around the sand dunes at Findhorn where it is believed as many as 1000 World War II aircraft were broken up and buried.
The tests have been ordered to establish the extent, if any, of radioactive waste contamination on the site from luminous paint used on cockpit instruments, while it is also believed that chemical weapons may also have been buried beneath the sand dunes close to the former RAF base at Kinloss.
Investigations are to be carried out by Moray Council’s contaminated land section alongside the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). Test pits at various points will be dug to establish the extent of any problem that might exist.
A spokesman for the local authority said: “Our environmental health department and SEPA are working in collaboration to ensure that potential contamination from historical activities in the area does not pose an unacceptable risk to human health.
“The investigation will entail excavating a number of shallow pits based on information obtained from geophysical surveys of the area.”
A prior assessment in 2004 indicated that sulphur mustard chemical weapons may be present on the site in waste areas that are accessible to the public – the site is one of several in Scotland that may be the home of contaminated materials.
Traces were found close to former Royal Navy resources on the Firth of Forth prompting Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, to ask the Ministry of Defence to cooperate fully with SEPA and ensure peace of mind for residents.