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Timber cost clear up _ insurers to pay

PUBLISHED: 13:06 14 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:29 05 July 2010

THE cost of clearing up hundreds of tonnes of timber which washed up on east coast beaches a fortnight ago will be covered by insurance and will not be passed on to council taxpayers.

THE cost of clearing up hundreds of tonnes of timber which washed up on east coast beaches a fortnight ago will be covered by insurance and will not be passed on to council taxpayers.

Large sections of Southwold beach were covered in pieces of wood, which had been brought in by the tide on Friday, January 30, and the timber soon appeared along the coast at Lowestoft and later as far north as Hemsby.

Although some of the wood was taken by members of the public, contractors worked through the following weekend to clear remaining bits of timber from the beaches.

The last pieces of wood were finally taken away this week, and now Suffolk Coastal District Council has confirmed that the cost of the clean-up operation will be met by their insurance company and not by taxpayers.

A spokesman from Suffolk Coastal District Council said that as the wood spent so long in the sea, it would not be any use for building and would probably be turned into woodchip.

He said: “The clear-up work is being carried out by contractors who will definitely not be paid for by the council taxpayers, but will probably be paid for by the insurance company.

“We have two crews, one in Dunwich and one at Southwold. Dunwich is a more sensitive operation because most of the beaches they are working on are Sites of Special Scientific Interest so the contractors are having to work very carefully in partnership with Natural England to make sure they are not damaging the fauna.

“The wood is being stored and then contractors will take is away. It is not of use for anything because it is building wood for the Egyptian market and cannot be used in the building industry here.”

About 1,500 tonnes of timber broke free from a Russian-registered cargo ship off the Sussex coast a month ago while it was on its way to Alexandria in Egypt.

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