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Pools of polystyrene beads on beach draw concerns

PUBLISHED: 21:36 22 May 2020 | UPDATED: 21:36 22 May 2020

Concerns have been raised about polystyrene beads from cavity wall insulation at the Marina Centre littering the beach at Great Yarmouth Picture: John E

Concerns have been raised about polystyrene beads from cavity wall insulation at the Marina Centre littering the beach at Great Yarmouth Picture: John E

Archant

A clean-up operation is under way to rid a stretch of beach of polystyrene balls coming from a seaside demolition site.

Concerns have been raised about polystyrene beads from cavity wall insulation at the Marina Centre littering the beach at Great Yarmouth Picture: John EConcerns have been raised about polystyrene beads from cavity wall insulation at the Marina Centre littering the beach at Great Yarmouth Picture: John E

The beads have become a concern amid fears they could be a hazard to birds, pets, and wildlife in Great Yarmouth.

The alarm was raised by a builder who lives in the area.

He said cavity wall insulation from the Marina Centre demolition was “polluting” the beach with “potential to cause serious harm” to sea life and birds.

His pictures show pockets of polystyrene strewn across the sands and evident among the piles of debris.

Concerns have been raised about polystyrene beads from cavity wall insulation at the Marina Centre littering the beach at Great Yarmouth Picture: John EConcerns have been raised about polystyrene beads from cavity wall insulation at the Marina Centre littering the beach at Great Yarmouth Picture: John E

Dan Goldsmith of Marine and Wildlife Rescue said he believed the substance did pose a risk to wildlife, especially if ingested, but Great Yarmouth Borough Council said the beads were being cleared up, and were made of a safe material.

Wrecking teams have continued their work during the Covid-19 lockdown, tearing down the 1980s built leisure centre.

The structure, whose rise and fall has mirrored changing holiday trends, is now almost completely gone, with drone footage capturing the transformation.

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A “once in a generation” facility is planned in its place.

In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council said it was aware of the beads, which were being cleared up.

It said: “The demolition of the Marina Centre and site preparation is progressing well, with the contractor following additional health and safety measures to continue operating during coronavirus.

“Local residents who have taken their exercise on the seafront in recent weeks will have watched in interest as the old structure has gradually come down.

“All the walls are down, with the exception of a single-storey structure at the front of the site which is being used for temporary storage and an enclosure at the back where services are located.

“The contractor is now focusing on breaking up the ground floor slab, removing the old foundations and creating a level base for the piling contractor to start when the main contract commences.

“We are aware that a limited amount of polystyrene beads, originally used as cavity wall insulation in parts of the old building, escaped the site during demolition.

“These are made of a safe material and are being cleared up.”


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