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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.

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