Norfolk tidal surge beach clean-up begins

Scratby beach clear-up The operation involves clearance teams, dumper trucks and 20-tonne lorries
Scratby beach clear-up Debris, 3 feet (1 metre) deep in places was washed up in the North Sea surge
Scratby beach clear-up Wire, wood and glass debris is mixed up with saturated marram grass

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Work has begun to clear up hundreds of tonnes of waste washed up on Norfolk beaches during last month's North Sea tidal surge.

About seven miles (11km) of shoreline, including beaches at Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and from Scratby to North Denes, were affected by the flooding.

On Scratby beach alone, it is believed there are about 6,000 sq metres (65,000 sq ft) of waste, 3ft deep (1 metre).

The operation is expected to take several weeks.

Before Christmas, staff from Great Yarmouth Borough Council took away any potentially hazardous material, including gas bottles, fridges and freezers.

Now workers are left with glass, wire and wood to dispose of.

'Burning' considered'

George Jarvis, from Great Yarmouth Borough Services, said a lot of manpower was being used to sift through the debris.

"We did consider burning on the beach, but looking at the weather forecast we're due to have quite a lot of wet weather this week," he said.

The rubbish is being stockpiled on the beach before being carted away

"Also the prevailing winds coming in from the sea would have blown quite a lot of thick, black smoke into public areas."

There is no estimate for the total cost of the clear-up, as it is not yet known how long it will take.

The council hopes to recoup the money spent through the government's Bellwin Scheme.

The Bellwin Scheme was introduced in the 1980s to provide some government support for flood-hit areas, but only provides funds for temporary flood measures and the work must be undertaken within two months of the flood.

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