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Seaweed removal beached

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Councils have found themselves unable to remove build-ups of seaweed from tourist beaches as a result of new waste disposal regulations.

With global warming and cleaner seas boosting seaweed, Thanet DC, which claims a quarter of Britain’s weed ends up on its beaches, has received complaints about the stench from rotting plants.

But an amendment to Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs controlled waste regulations, issued in 2006, has meant it cannot dispose of this year’s bumper crop by giving it to farmers to use as a natural fertiliser.

The council’s head of commercial services, Mark Seed, said taking it to a tip would be expensive and contradict landfill regulations on biodegradable waste.

The council moves about 6,000 tonnes annually often pushing it down the beach in the hope the tide will take it away at a cost of£60,000 in machinery and labour. Landfill would cost an extra£300,000, said Mr Seed.

He added: “This council would have a massive dent in its budget if we did that. We are not a rich council and this is a problem most councils do not have.”

Scarborough BC, meanwhile, had to move over 100 tonnes of seaweed which appeared suddenly in the popular Robin Hood Bay three years ago, taking it to landfill at a cost of£8,000. “When it happens, it is a big problem,” said the council’s environment manager Steve Reynolds.

An Environment Agency spokesman said it was working with councils to “develop a long-term sustainable solution for managing the issue”.

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