On Air Now
Early Breakfast with Jenni Falconer 4am - 6am
2 May 2014, 06:56 | Updated: 13 May 2014, 15:54
Shoebury East beach is being closed - because of the number of unexploded bombs being found nearby
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has decided to temporarily close Shoebury East Beach.
The decision, taken in consultation with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), has been made after a number of recent discoveries of unexploded ordnance (UXO) on and near to East Beach and on neighbouring prohibited MOD foreshore.
Whilst the beach is closed, the MOD, who own the foreshore but license it to the council, are carrying out a survey of the area to assess the exact risk and potential number of UXO's in that area. No other beaches in the Borough are to close or be surveyed and remain fully open.
Corporate Director Andrew Lewis, says: "Due to the increasing number of UXO's being found within and near to East Beach, and with public safety our first priority we feel we must take the decision to temporarily close the beach.
"The MOD have started surveying works which once completed will allow us to properly assess the risk and make an informed decision as to what we do next. We are working with them and pressing them to ensure that this essential work is done as quickly as possible. As part of this, we also need to consider the implications of the increasing number of UXO's being washed ashore.
"It is too early to say at this stage how long this work will take, and how long the beach will be closed for, but as I have said we have to put public safety ahead of all other considerations.
"Our beaches are absolutely vital our tourism offer and our local residents, businesses and visitors. I would therefore like to reassure people and be very clear that this temporary closure only affects East Beach, and the rest of our beaches remain open.
"We would ask for local people's patience and support during the beach closure and to observe the signs that will ask people not to go onto the beach, mud or into the water."
It is thought that the recent bad weather experienced across the country, including high tides and waves, has led to more UXO's being washed up around the country, including East Beach.
New signs and heras fencing is to be put in place as soon as possible, and additional Resort Services staff will be put on duty in the Shoebury East Beach area during daylight hours.