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Page last updated at 19:11 GMT, Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Cleethorpes' "encroaching" salt marsh to be removed
Cleethorpes Pier and salt marsh
The salt marsh at Cleethorpes is a protected area

It's green and wet and home to rare birds, but it's posing a threat to one of North East Lincolnshire's best beaches.

The salt marsh on Cleethorpes is spreading across the beach and there are fears it could affect tourism if it is not controlled.

Councillors at North East Lincolnshire Council are scrutinising plans to reduce the grass in the Blue Flag beach area.

"It's one of the main ecological sites of the country and is extremely important," said Councillor Peter Burgess, the council's portfolio holder for environment.

"But [the salt marsh] is gradually encroaching along the beach in front of the Blue Flag area of Cleethorpes, which we're keen to maintain because it's very important to the tourism industry.

"We believe it will have an economical impact on the resort if it were allowed to continue [to grow]. People come to Cleethorpes for a variety of reasons and one of the main reasons is for the golden sands, which is quite important for the local economy."

"It's part of a new five-year beach management plan which includes beach cleaning and amenities," added Councillor Burgess.

The salt marsh first took root at Buck Beck in the 1940s and spread towards Cleethorpes by the 1970s
The salt marsh is a feature of the Humber Estuary and supports a wide variety of flora and fauna, including several nationally scarce plants such as golden samphire
Salt marsh on the Humber Estuary covers less than two percent of the Estuary's total

The council are working with conservation organisation Natural England to remove approximately seven square metres of the salt marsh from a part of the beach north of Cleethorpes' leisure centre. The grass south of this point will continue to be protected.

Removal of the grass will be carried out manually at a cost of £2,000 a year and the council are planning to start work before January 2011.

The marsh at Cleethorpes contains a type of salt called Salicornia, providing an important habitat for rare wading birds and fish including flounder and sea bass. As such it is a protected area with a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) classification.

"The Humber Estuary as a whole is as important in the UK as it is internationally. It's one of the best wildlife sites in Europe and salt marsh is one of the habitats that makes it important," explained Tim Paige, a conservation adviser for Natural England.

Aside from the wildlife, the salt marsh also acts as a natural sea defence reducing erosion.

Removal plan for creeping marsh
11 Nov 10 |  Humberside
Plan to control spreading marsh
16 Jun 10 |  Humberside
Resort fears over creeping marsh
20 Dec 09 |  Humber


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