By Kris Jepson
Northumberland County Council has told ITV News Tyne Tees it will consider funding provision during its annual budget discussions in February to decide how much money to spend on dealing with an ongoing erosion problem at Lynemouth beach.
ITV News revealed in March last year how the erosion of cliffs at Lynemouth was leading to industrial waste, household rubbish and plastics seeping out onto the beach and into the sea at an historic landfill site.
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Steve Lowe spends hours running regular litter picks on the beach and, in his role as an officer for the Northumberland Rivers Trust, is particularly concerned how the waste is impacting on river and sea wildlife.
He told ITV News that the cliffs have eroded by up to four meters in the 9 months since our last visit and he has seen evidence of industrial waste being transported by the sea to neighbouring beaches.
The Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NIFCA) has role in managing the marine conservation zone. This involves helping protect designated sea life and coastal features on a large stretch of Northumberland coastline.
The man who chairs the authority told ITV News it is “frustrating” to see the deteriorating erosion.
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In March last year, Northumberland County Council told ITV News it undertook a land reclamation in the early 2000s, which involved cleaning up the beach and landscaping the cliffside, but it said it no longer had the means to repeat the process, saying "the prospect of the County Council being able to afford to excavate it and remove it from sight is very, very slim."
However, since this programme revealed the extent of the problem and local politicians became interested in the issue, the council has reconsidered its position.
Paul Jones is the Director of Local Services for the council assured ITV News it is “fully committed” to dealing with the problem and will discuss funding provisions at the annual budget meetings in February.
The council plans to reopen its talks with the government over securing support centrally, but previously the Environment Agency said the “ultimate responsibility for both the landfill site and coastal defences at Lynemouth Beach lies with the council."