“The breakdown of seaweed is a natural part of the sulphur cycle and does not pose a problem in outdoor spaces where it just dissipates in the atmosphere. On Tuesday 18 August, following local reports we asked Kent Fire & Rescue Service to monitor the levels of hydrogen sulphide in the Birchington area. Based on those readings, they concluded that they do not consider there to be any risk to public health.
“Seaweed is a natural occurrence on our coastline and the chalk reef where it grows is protected by law meaning we are not able to remove as much as some people might like.
“This year has seen unusually high levels of seaweed on some of our beaches, no doubt exacerbated by the calm weather and high temperatures. We have already collected well over 500 tonnes this season, which is more than the previous three years. The seaweed has been taken to a local farm just outside of the district for use as a natural fertilizer.
“We continue to be committed to keeping our beaches looking beautiful and have been actively managing seaweed from our main bathing bays, including Minnis Bay. We know seaweed deposits can smell and this season the high temperatures have provided ideal conditions for the odour to occur.
“Following reports from local residents, a team visited the more isolated bays in the area (Epple Bay, Grenham Bay and Beresford Gap). Unfortunately it is not possible to remove seaweed from these locations without damaging the chalk reef which is designated a Special Area of Conservation and protected by law”.
Cllr Steve Albon, Cabinet Member for Operational Services