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Video and photo gallery: Hundreds of tonnes of rubbish removed from Norfolk beaches as December storm clean up continues

PUBLISHED: 17:12 14 January 2014 | UPDATED: 17:12 14 January 2014

Clear up operation on Scratby beach - dumper trucks and tractors clearing up material washed up by tidal surge last month.

Picture: James Bass

Clear up operation on Scratby beach - dumper trucks and tractors clearing up material washed up by tidal surge last month. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

A huge operation to clear hundreds of tonnes of waste that washed up on Norfolk beaches during December’s tidal surge is underway.

GYB Services, the operational partner of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, is using dumper trucks and litter picks to collect an estimated 1,200 tonnes of rubbish from a seven-mile stretch between Caister and Gorleston.

There is a focus on Caister, Scratby and North Denes in Yarmouth where the majority of rubbish washed up.

The waste is a tangled mess of marram grass, broken wood, and uprooted trees but also includes the remains of seafront chalets that were destroyed further up the coast.

Once collected from the beach, the rubbish is being transported to Aldeby landfill site.

Simon Mutton of GYB Services estimates on Scratby Beach alone there is about 6,000 square metres of waste - two to three feet deep in some places.

Before Christmas, staff carried out a survey and removed rubbish that might have been hazardous, including gas bottles, fridges and freezers.

They can’t burn the waste as it is too wet so the operation, expected to take several weeks, involves two five-man clearance teams, two chainsaw operatives, two grab vehicles, two dump trucks and two 20-tonne lorries.

Councillor Trevor Wainwright, leader of the borough council, said it is hard to estimate the total cost as they do not yet know how much work will be needed over the next few weeks, but they are expecting it to be at least £20,000.

The council hopes to recoup the cost through the government’s Belwin scheme.

“The Great Yarmouth borough is rightly world-famous for its beautiful, clean beaches, and it is vital for the local economy that this reputation is maintained,” said Mr Wainwright.

“We have reacted swiftly to this huge challenge, allocating time and resource to ensure the shoreline is once again pristine in advance of this summer’s holiday season.

“In the meantime – and as ever – the borough council advises those considering scavenging on beaches not pick up anything they cannot identify.”

See more in tomorrow’s EDP and Friday’s Great Yarmouth Mercury.


  • You do talk a load of codswallop Daisy Roots. On your first post you mention that its a terrible waste of money and that the vegetation should be left and the plastics ‘gleaned’. I can assure you that it would probably treble the bill if you had an army of gleaners on the beach sorting out the vegetation from plastics, plus you have limited time in which to operate due to the shifting tides. Also to leave the vegetation only on the beach would pose a danger to navigation once high tides take it out again, not to mention the danger to many animals that live on or in the sea that consume flotsam by mistake, as it often looks similar to their natural prey. One minute your about being all about the welfare of the wildlife, yet on the other hand you’d rather bury your head in the sand and ignore the ramifications of leaving the rubbish there. And let us not forget that this is not isolated to our coastline, all around the country there are equal if not worse devastation with similar clean-up operations going on. What’s your solution, just leave it for nature to clean up? Also the difference between the farmer who has asbestos dumped on his land and the mess on the beach is that the farmer has had illegal fly tipping and I don’t think flotsam and jetsam is regarded asfly tipping. As far as the marram grass on the dunes are concerned (if you can ever be bothered to go and look at the rubbish on the beach, Hemsby-Caister for yourself) you will be aware that you can get access to the beach from either Caister or Hemsby without encroaching onto the marram dunes. I suspect your main gripe (again) is against anyone who chooses to live next to the sea

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    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • Has anyone thought of letting Mick Castle have a giant bonfire in his back garden seeing as he loves burning rubbish so much?

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    User Removed

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • This is a terrible waste of money and probably more damaging to the beaches than leaving the vegetation. If the plastics were gleaned everything else would rot down , blow away or wash away. By running round with grabs they will damage the existing marrams holding Caister beach together. Plus the snow buntings which live on Caister beach in winter have been poking about and finding seeds in the vegetation and will now be disturbed. The beach is not just for grockles, there has been turnstones and carrion crows having a good rummage too. There are several months until the season starts and those particular beaches affected get very few holiday makers on them. GYBC rarely bothers about these villages or these beaches and facilities , but a little bit of national tv and a few whining move ins and they are acting like townies with a tidiness obsession

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    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • “The Great Yarmouth borough is rightly world-famous for its beautiful, clean beaches, and it is vital for the local economy that this reputation is maintained,” said Mr Wainwright. When does Mr Wainwright go down to the beach, if he saw the dog mess and the litter left by people that visit there, would he then call the beaches -beautiful and clean?

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    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • I also posted to question whether the diverse specialist sand dune plants which have been establishing in recent years sea holly, sea pea etc had been considered and were being protected from the actions of the workers.And whether GYBC were being as assiduous in checking the asbestos in all the old former holiday chalets now being used as year round homes in Scratby California etc now that we know there was asbestos in those washed away at Hemsby But of course that comment was either removed or disappeared.If a farmer had asbestos dumped on his land, even on a public right of way, he is liable for the clear up, why are the chalet owners getting away with it for being too feckless to have insurance to cover clearing up their mess?

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    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • I agree with you Roots, it would have been best to leave well alone. It's another case of OTT health and safety mentality.

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    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

  • People were doing their best to burn rubbish on the beach between Cromer and Sheringham , on Sunday . Looked an organised clearance .

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    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

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