Published: September 2, 2011
Mystery substance on Burnham-On-Sea beach is 'harmless algae'

The Environment Agency has reassured beach users in Burnham-On-Sea that a mystery brown substance being washed up along the town's tideline this week is "a perfectly harmless algae."

Its comments come amid concerns that the unsightly substance, which has been washed up on several high tides, could be sewage or pollution.

Several beach walkers have got in contact with to express their fears, but the Environment Agency says there is no need for concern.

Spokesman Paul Gainey said on Thursday: "Our team has investigated and we can confirm the material is definitely a naturally-occurring algae."

"It doesn't look very nice, but is harmless to beach users and there's no need for people to be worried."

He added: "Algae in one form or another is quite common along the coastline during warmer weather at this time of year."

One walker, Joyce McClaire, who is holidaying in the area from Gloucestershire, first spotted the substance on Bank Holiday Monday.

She told "It was unpleasant to look at and we were a little concerned about paddling while it was there, but I'm relieved to hear it's not any cause for concern."

Sedgemoor District Council spokeswoman Claire Faun said its Clean Surroundings Team would clear away any rubbish or substances found on the beach if they are reported to its council helpdesk.

Pictured: The unsightly algae on Burnham-On-Sea's beach this week (click for high-res version)


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