Advice not to bathe issued for Westbrook through to Minnis Bay

Bathing warning issued after substance found on coastline

Advice against bathing has been issued ‘as a precaution’ for Westbrook, St Mildred’s Bay, West Bay and Minnis Bay.

The council has received a report of black lumps at St Mildred’s Bay that, according to a member of the public who alerted the beach warden, are “squidgy and smell of petrochemicals.”

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “We have been made aware today (Thursday 30 May) of dark coloured organic matter that has washed up along the North Thanet coast. It is not oil. The material is odourless, leaves no residue and does not appear to be the same substance as previously found at Minnis Bay earlier this month.

“As a precaution, signs advising against bathing and recommending that beach users remain above the high tide line are currently in place along the coast at Minnis Bay, Birchington-on-Sea, West Bay and St Mildred’s Bay, Westgate-on-Sea and Westbrook Bay.

“Dog owners are asked to keep their dogs on a lead at all times when on the beaches in these locations.

“Thanet District Council officers are actively monitoring the coastline to assess the extent of the incident and are in contact with the Environment Agency, the Coastguard and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

“Updates will be issued in the event that there is a change to this guidance.”

Photo Frank Leppard

The latest warning comes just 24 hours after advice against bathing at Minnis Bay was lifted. The advice was put in place on Monday 20 May, following the discovery of dead ragworms, lugworms and shellfish at Minnis Bay.

This was caused by a naturally occurring algal bloom. The algae resulted in the presence of a residue which has now hardened and is being broken up by the action of the tides.

Having carried out a range of tests, the Environment Agency (EA) confirmed the material in the affected area is not toxic.

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