Extra manpower plea for big seaside clean up

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Conservationists are calling on members of the public to join in an extensive clean-up operation at a wildlife haven on the Yorkshire coast that has been reshaped by the disruptive weather events last month.

The landscape at Spurn National Nature Reserve has been permanently altered by the tidal surge that washed ashore and inundated the area with fast moving sea water in the run up to Christmas.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, the charity that manages the site, has been forced to shut the area down to the public since the it was devastated on December 5-6.

Trust officers say they are working closely with tenants and contractors on site as they continue to work and put right the damage caused by the storm.

The debris left strewn by the retreating waters has left staff facing their biggest litter picking challenge as the clean-up work continues this month, and the Trust is hopeful people will be prepared to dig in and volunteer their time to help out on specific six days dedicated to the operation in the coming weeks.

Terry Smithson, regional director for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said the aftermath of the storm had been a difficult period for everyone at the site.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I visited Spurn; a new landscape has emerged following the tidal surge in addition to all manner of litter and debris,” he said.

“We are asking everyone who loves Spurn to come and help us with what will be the largest litter picking challenge we have ever faced.”

Mr Smithson added that it is important that the site is restored so that useful ecological work could be resumed.

“We are committed to Spurn’s future and in addition to our investments in the site, we support research projects into its ecology and geology.

“For example, Tom Holmes and Dr Katherine Selby from the environment department at the University of York are using Spurn as a case study to examine the effect of storms on coastal environments and communities, taking sediment samples from the peninsula to identify how the coast has responded in the past.”

He said the site remains hazardous and will be closed to the public until further notice. No date has been set for the reopening of the nature reserve at this stage.

How volunteers can help

Volunteer days for members of the public to help with the Spurn clean-up operation are due to be held on the 11th, 12th, 18th, 19th, 25th and 26th of January between 10am and 3pm.

Anyone who wishes to lend a hand is asked to contact site managers, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, to book a place by calling 01904 659570, or by emailing info@ywt.org.uk.

Volunteers visiting the site are being advised that the Blue Bell car park remains flooded, and the Trust asks that people avoid visiting the area for now so as not to obstruct the clean-up operation.