August 18, 2008

Beach Closed to Public After Oil is Found on Sand

A STRETCH of Northumberland coastline has been closed to the public while tests are carried out to solve a pollution puzzle.

Warning signs have been put up, public access points closed and coastal warden patrols put in place along Cambois beach near Bedlington following the discovery of an unidentified oily substance on Wednesday.

Wansbeck District Council closed the beach between Cambois and North Blyth as a precaution, after a member of the public reported oily globules on the sand.

There has been one unconfirmed report that a dog became ill after coming into contact with the substance, but the council stressed last night there is no evidence of any risk to public health.

Scientists from the Environment Agency took samples of the pollution yesterday and are carrying out laboratory analysis in a bid to establish what it is and where it came from.

Last night, Wansbeck Council said the beach will not re-open for public use until the agency has confirmed that it is safe.

Council environmental health officer Peter Simpson, said: "We were told about this pollution on Wednesday, notified the agency and decided to take the precaution of closing the beach.

"We are carrying out patrols to make sure people are not going onto the beach, but our main concern is that dogs not on leads could come into contact with this oily substance, which is coagulating." A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "We sent officers out this morning to take samples of what we understand is an oily substance found along the beach at Cambois. We will analyse it and should have a better idea of what it is, and where it came from, tomorrow.

"It is hard to say at the moment whether it has been washed up from out at sea or came from the land side, but there is nothing at this stage to suggest it is hazardous. The beach is closed as a precaution until we can confirm there is nothing bad there."

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