Glasgow & West Scotland

Prestwick beach asbestos removal work gets under way

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Media captionSouth Ayrshire Council said it was working closely with SEPA, NHS Ayrshire and Arran and expert scientific advisors

Work is under way to remove potentially hazardous material from the beach at Prestwick in Ayrshire.

It was closed at the weekend over concerns about asbestos contamination.

A specialist contractor has been brought in to clear the area and investigate the source of the material. The council said the beach would remain shut while the work was ongoing.

Checks have also been carried out at Ayr, Barassie, Newton and Troon, with those beaches given the all clear.

Prestwick would normally be a popular destination for tourists during the summer months.

Image caption The beach will remain closed while tests are carried out
Image caption A couple ignore the closure of Prestwick beach as two contractors in protective suits scour the sands for asbestos-bearing material

South Ayrshire Council said it was working closely with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), NHS Ayrshire and Arran and expert scientific advisors to deal with the problem and consider all possible implications.

The council has also been in contact with Prestwick St Nicholas Golf Club, which owns and is responsible for the sections of the beach adjacent to the golf course.

Mike Newall, the head of neighbourhood services at the council, said: "Our contractor will begin the sweep of the beach on Tuesday morning to identify and remove any materials potentially of concern.

"While that work is ongoing - and until we are more informed about the potential impact of the materials found - the beach closure will remain in place and we will continue to monitor and review this on an ongoing basis."

Image caption Prestwick North community councillor Mike Tomlinson with pieces of what he believes to be asbestos-bearing material he found on the beach

He added: "We are actively investigating the source of this material in conjunction with our specialist contractor.

"While investigations are in progress and until a full scientific risk assessment can be carried out, the beach has been closed as a precaution. We ask locals and visitors alike to follow the warning signs and stay off the beach for the time being."

Dr Elvira Garcia, consultant in public health medicine for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, added: "Until we know more about the material on Prestwick Beach, and any potential impact on public health, the precautionary beach closure will minimise the likelihood of exposure."

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