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Council moves to reassure people over palm oil on beaches

PUBLISHED: 10:15 21 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:07 21 May 2019

More palm oil has been found on the region's beaches - this time between Hemsby and Scratby. Picture: Fiona-Jane Barrett

More palm oil has been found on the region's beaches - this time between Hemsby and Scratby. Picture: Fiona-Jane Barrett

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Palm oil found scattered along the region's coastline should not deter people from the beaches, a councillor has said.

James Bensley vice chairman of Great Yarmouth Borough Council's environment committee.James Bensley vice chairman of Great Yarmouth Borough Council's environment committee.

Deposits of the substance, which is poisonous to dogs, were collected over the last few days from beaches in the area including Great Yarmouth, Caister, Hemsby, Gorleston and Hopton.

Cllr James Bensley, vice chairman of Great Yarmouth Borough Council's environment committee, said: "Please be reassured that the palm oil is a short-term, temporary situation which we expect to clear up over the coming days.

"In the meantime, with due care and attention, our beautiful beaches are still a great place to visit and walk your dogs - just make sure you keep them on a short lead."

Ships are permitted to dump the oil into the sea if they are at least 12 miles offshore.

Bags full of palm oil cleared from Caister beach. Photo: Courtesy of Caister Parish CouncilBags full of palm oil cleared from Caister beach. Photo: Courtesy of Caister Parish Council

On Monday (May 20), community volunteers, local businesses and council staff visited Hemsby as part of the Great Yarmouth Community Clean Up Week, a special spring clean co-ordinated by the borough council.

Mr Bensley said: "The council in Great Yarmouth borough is carefully monitoring the situation and removing deposits as quickly as possible."

He added: "For the 2019 season, all of the borough's bathing water locations at Great Yarmouth, Gorleston, Caister and Hemsby, have been rated by the Environment Agency as excellent - the highest, cleanest quality."

Palm oil has a distinctive diesel-like odour and despite its name often washes up as large solid lumps, white and waxy in appearance.

As well as posing a health risk to animals on British shores, the harvesting of palm oil from the fruit of oil palm trees in Africa and southeast Asia is a major catalyst of deforestation.

The ingredient is used in a huge range of supermarket products.

If you spot palm oil, please call the Environmental Rangers on 01493 846478 who will arrange removal.

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Please provide the exact location and size of the deposit.

If you decide to clear any oil yourself, please place it inside a litter bin.

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