Hunmanby Gap beach re-opens after white pellets found to be non-toxic

28 April 2011

A three-mile stretch of beach at Hunmanby Gap near Filey has been reopened to the public following a clean-up of material washed ashore.

Tests have now indicated the small white pellets are non toxic and pose no risk to the public.

The source of the material is not yet known but it appears to be a hydrocarbon salt commonly used in detergents and lubricants.

Scarborough Borough Council will continue to monitor the situation at Hunmanby Gap and on other beaches along the borough coastline and any significant deposits will be removed.

Checks undertaken this afternoon and this evening found only small amounts of the substance scattered over a wide area.

Scarborough Borough Council Head of Environmental Services Andy Skelton said: “The borough council is grateful for the assistance provided by the police and other agencies in resolving this issue.

“Cleansing staff have worked hard to remove as much of the product as possible at Hunmanby this afternoon. We’re obviously pleased to have determined the product is non toxic but we will continue to monitor the situation over the coming bank holiday weekend and take any action if necessary.”

Initial testing of the pellets by a specialist unit from the Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Fire and Rescue Service were inconclusive.

However, results have now come back indicating the nature of the product.

The Health Protection Agency has confirmed that preliminary results from the testing have indicated the material is of a plastic type. It is of a non-toxic nature and the Agency has confirmed the material poses no significant risk to health.

Insp Leo Suret from North Yorkshire Police said: “Our thanks go to members of the public for their patience and observance of the closure of the beach. We worked hard with our partner agencies to resolve this issue and are pleased the beach is now open again.”


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