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Northumbrian MP to call on Government to help find a solution to Lynemouth's landfill erosion

Landfill erosion Photo: ITV News

By Kris Jepson

A Northumbrian MP has told ITV News she will call on government and the Environment Agency to help find a solution to Lynemouth's landfill erosion.

On Monday ITV News revealed that an historic colliery landfill cliffside was seeping waste and plastics onto the beach and into the sea.

Visiting the site today on our request, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP said "now that I’ve discovered about it, they’re (Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) going to be hearing from me on Monday morning. There’s a sort of upward spiral of thinking that’s going to have to be done and, indeed, work and money spent to make sure that we can meet the obligation we’ve put upon ourselves."

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

Around 40 people descended onto Lynemouth beach on Friday to take part in a litter pick organised by Steve Lowe from Northumberland Rivers Trust.

The volunteers included people of all ages, members of the veterans charity Help for Heroes and marine biologists from the Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NIFCA).

Leslie Weller is the chairman of NIFCA and he called on the government to fund a coastal erosion scheme on the beach.

I want all the agencies and Central Government and Defra to have a look at this and we’ve got to come up with a sensible plan to fund some kind of stabilisation or remedial work. I accept the fact that it may be grossly expensive to remove the lot, but certainly a four or five metre removal, a rebutment of heavy rock, perhaps funded by the Environment Agency, Council or perhaps Central Government.

– Leslie Weller, NIFCA
Marine Conservation Zone Credit: ITV News

The beach at Lynemouth is at the centre of a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ), which was designated as a protected area in 2016.

The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove MP, said at the time "we’re extending the network of marine coastal protection zones around the UK. One of the reasons we're doing that is because our own marine environment, for which we are responsible, is kept as healthy as possible and these types of conservation zones mean that particular types of economic activity, which can churn up the sea bed and damage marine life, they won’t be allowed in the future, so in essence, what we are doing is creating a 'blue belt' of high quality environmental safeguards around the UK coast".

The MCZ means that all designated sea-life and features, like exposed clay on the cliffside, needs to be protected legally.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan told ITV News it is important this zone is protected.

This will require Defra and the Environment Agency to come forward and help to actually look towards what we want to be doing long-term, because these are plastics, and no doubt in here, very unpleasant toxic substances, which we do not want to be ending up in our oceans.

– Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP
Landfill erosion Credit: ITV News

Northumberland County Council said on Monday that "the prospect of the County Council being able to afford to excavate it (eroded landfill) and remove it from sight is very, very slim."

Today a spokesperson from Defra told ITV News, the responsibility to deal with coastal landfill erosion on Lynemouth still lies with the council.

According to the department it is the responsibility, in this case, of Northumberland County Council, not the Government, nor the Environment Agency, to ensure that coastal erosion at the Woodhorn landfill site does not lead to damage of the natural environment in The Coquet to St. Mary’s Marine Conservation Zone.

The department claim the fact that this coastal landfill site poses a threat to a Marine Conservation Zone makes it all the more important that Northumberland County Council fulfils it's responsibilities with regards to managing the historic landfill site and managing the coastline.