Polluted Saltburn Gill in Cleveland gets cash for clean-up

Saltburn Gill
Image caption Saltburn Gill turned orange in 1999. Photo by Mick Garratt

More than £700,000 has been earmarked for the clean-up of an orange stained beck in Cleveland.

Saltburn Gill changed colour overnight on 18 May 1999 when it was polluted with iron ochre from a nearby ironstone mine.

The money for the clean-up comes from a £9.3m UK-wide government fund to combat problems caused by abandoned metal mines across England.

Tom Blenkinsop MP said the funding was a "breakthrough" for the area.

Neither the current landowners nor former operators can be held responsible for the pollution.

The UK Coal Authority has been awarded the money to undertake work on abandoned metal mines in England over the next four years, with Saltburn Gill getting a £700,000 cut.

Mr Blenkinsop, the MP for Middlesborough and East Cleveland, said: "This is a breakthrough as, up to now, the Coal Authority only had the remit to deal with pollution problems from old coal mines - not ironstone mines, like the ones we had in East Cleveland.

"The problems on Saltburn Gill are being caused by rising ground water levels pouring out water from the old Longacre Pit in Skelton, which is choked with iron ochre.

"I am now told by the Coal Authority that the scoping and site studies in the Skelton area have now been undertaken and a potential area for a treatment scheme has been identified.

"We have come a long way. Now we face the battle to complete the scheme and bequeath clean water for local watercourses for future generations to come."

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