The Hartland whale – update

Richard Haste – Service Manager for Waste and Recycling at TDC has updated us on the Hartland whale situation:

“Regular site visits have been made to the beach at Hartland Quay and the Council continues to monitor the situation while plans are finalised to appoint contractors to remove the carcass. Specialist contractors have submitted quotes for the removal and disposal of the large specimen and permission from the relevant government and local agencies are being sought to give the go ahead for the work. The Council have been actively involved with over half a dozen agencies on the matter to ensure that appropriate licences are obtained and so that possible compensation can be sought at a later date for the work to be undertaken now.

A further complication is that the area where the whale beached is an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). The SSSI for the Hartland area relates specifically to geology which makes the taking of necessary tracked vehicles onto the foreshore more problematic. One of the earlier plans conceived was to transport or tow the carcass to the more accessible Yelland Quay for further handling. However this is also an SSSI site and with nearby mussel beds the risk of bio contamination was a significant risk factor.

In the meantime as a result of tide and wave action the carcass has started to break down further, and parts are now spread out over a wider area of beach. This means that the carcass will now be dealt with in situ and plans are being focused in this direction. The issue remains as to how to gain access to the beach without damaging the protected geology and how risks to health and safety can be minimised to anyone working at the scene or nearby.

In the meantime we would continue to direct members of the public to stay clear of the beach and to be aware that material may now be scattered over a wider area. As before this guidance is also directed at dog owners who should keep their pets on a lead at all times while in the vicinity of the slipway and rocks. Warning signs have been placed at access point to the beach conveying this message.

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