Cornwall beach clear-up begins after palm oil identified

Warning sign Long Rock near Penzance is among the beaches being cleared of the palm oil

Related Stories

The clear-up of a substance on Cornish beaches has begun after it was found to be palm oil, a contractor says.

A dog that ate the substance died and several others became sick, according to vets.

Cory Environmental, which works for Cornwall Council, said it was removing the substance after it was identified as "safe to touch".

Public Health England (PHE) said the substance was identified as a "non-harmful oil-based product".

'Clearly turned rancid'

PHE had warned people to avoid 11 west Cornwall beaches, although Cornwall Council did not close them.

Cornwall Council contractors Cory put up warning signs on the beaches affected by the substance, which was first seen on Sunday at Pedn Vounder beach and was described by witnesses as smelling like firelighters.

Long Rock substance The substance was said to smell like firelighters

Beaches affected included Praa Sands, Porthcurno and Penzance promenade.

Cory said the clear-up was starting "straight away".

PHE said the substance had been confirmed as a "non-toxic, degraded, edible oil or fat".

Dr Femi Oshin - from PHE Devon, Cornwall and Somerset - said: "It's reassuring that the substance has been found to be some kind of cooking oil.

"It has clearly turned rancid and that's why we've had reports of it smelling so bad.

"While not harmful to people, it's unpleasant, and we'd still advise people - and dog owners with their pets - to keep away from it, and allow the council's contractors to get on with taking it away and disposing of it."

PHE also warned it was possible the substance would affect other beaches over the forthcoming days.

The substance was analysed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

Palm oil has a wide variety of uses and is found in food, soaps and shampoos and biofuels.

The source has yet to be identified.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Cornwall



Min. Night 4 °C


  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back

  • Aimen DeanI spied

    The founder member of al-Qaeda who worked for MI6

  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?

  • Lotus 97T driven by Elio de AngelisBeen and Gone

    A champion F1 designer and other notable losses

  • A poster of Boris Nemtsov at a rally in St Petersburg, Russia, 1 MarchWho killed Nemtsov?

    Theories abound over murder that shocked Moscow

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.