There was some fantastic news for local residents, traders and visitors to East Beach as the Council have announced that Shoebury East Beach is set to re-open. Here is the joint statement by the Council and the MoD:
Joint statement from the MOD and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
“During the recent two-day explosive ordnance reconnaissance undertaken by the Royal Navy Southern Diving Group, 130 metallic items were excavated and classified, none were found to be ordnance or ordnance-related items. Two items of ordnance were found on the surface during a separate visual search. These were made safe through a controlled explosion and disposed of by the EOD team.
“Following this work, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) provided the council with an assessment of the work and information to enable it to complete a risk assessment for the area of Shoebury East Beach licensed from MOD.
“The council will now carry out its risk assessment and produce a programme of mitigation measures that will allow the beach to be re-opened as soon as practicable. Mitigation measures recommended by MOD and agreed by the council will include installation of permanent warning signs, marker buoys to identify the licensed area and additional awareness training of relevant resort and other council staff and contractors.
“To enable the beach to be re-opened quickly, the council will be producing temporary signage ahead of the permanent measures being put in place. As soon as this signage is ready, the fences will be removed and the beach re-opened. The council anticipates this work will take place by the end of the week.
“There remains potential for ordnance to be found at East Beach in the future. However, we are content that, following the reconnaissance operation and with the mitigation measures that will be put in place, the risk will be appropriately managed. The public are reminded that surrounding MOD beaches remain out of bounds.”
Cllr Graham Longley, Deputy Leader of the Council said:
“I am delighted that following the meeting yesterday with the MOD, we expect the beach to be re-opened by the end of the week.
“I fully supported the decision that was taken to temporarily close the beach, given the situation at the time, and given that more work needed to be carried out to understand the risk to public safety. It was quite right that a safety first approach was adopted ahead of more information being made available.
“The reconnaissance found no ordnance in the 130 sample areas, and a number of mitigation measures to manage the risk have been identified that we have agreed to that has satisfied us that we can take the decision to re-open the beach.”