Thanet Seaweed - "very productive talks" - MP

September 11th 2008

North Thanet’s MP, Roger Gale, has described as "very productive and positive" the talks that he has had with the Environment Agency this week to consider the future disposal of the seaweed that has plagued the Island’s beaches this summer.

The MP, who met with the EA’s Regional Director, Howard Davidson, and senior executives at the Agency’s Worthing HQ this week said following the meeting:

"We have looked at the need to provide, first, a short-term solution to meet the needs of the next two or three tourist seasons and second at the requirement to find, and fund, a long term solution.

I found the EA to be very sensitive and sympathetic to the needs of an area that generates the country’s highest volume (6,000 tonnes annually) of waste seaweed in the context of the importance of the tourist industry to the local economy.  The Agency’s panel will be considering, within weeks, ways to offer some immediate response to the difficulties that we face.

In the longer term it is clear that we shall require considerable investment in facilities to dispose of this weed in an environmentally acceptable way and again I was gratified to discover the level of support that the EA will be willing to offer to Thanet and Kent to offer practical and innovative proposals to deal with the problem.

I do not propose to go into details at a time when the EA is very positively considering how to assist us but I am confident that if Thanet and Kent look forcefully and constructively to the future then this is a "problem" that we may even turn into an asset. There is a huge opportunity for Kent, working with the EA, to blaze a trail and show how, once again, we can take a lead. What we cannot do is rely, for much longer, upon yesterday’s practices to dispose of this waste." 

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