Last year, Northumberland County Council agreed to kick-start the clean-up work on the decades-old waste tip in the area and released an initial £500,000 so essential pre-construction activities could be progressed.
Now its cabinet has approved the release of £4.5million funding for the clean-up within the the local authority’s medium term financial plan for 2021/22.
Subject to receiving an Environmental Waste Permit, which is being sought alongside planning, it is hoped that work will begin in the autumn to excavate more than 280,000 tonnes of cliff material from which wastes will be extracted and sensitively disposed of, before placing back the remainder of the material.
The site has already been prepared ahead of the main works, with the top layer of ground being removed to stop migrating birds nesting at the site over the spring, as this would result in the works having to be delayed.
Cllr John Riddle, cabinet member for local services, said: “While legally we don’t have to carry out this work, in light of our climate change commitments and our concern for plastics and other waste materials from littering the beach and washing into the marine environment, we’re voluntarily taking this desperately needed action to tackle the historic pollution issues at this site once and for all.
“We have developed a scheme that covers all of the affected land and are seeking external funding to cover the clean-up works in those areas which are outside our ownership.
“We are doing everything we can to tackle this long-standing problem and will start the clean-up works shortly to avoid the winter weather.”
Since the problem was identified, a number of temporary measures have been introduced in the area. These include the temporary diversion of the England Coastal Path.
The council has also been doing additional clean-up visits on the beach to remove any waste materials that are washing out from the site.
Local ward councillors Scott Dickinson and Liz Dunn said: “We are pleased to see the funding that we all worked hard to secure being released now.
“It is vital that after the initial work and testing that we continue at pace to resolve what is a historic, but problematic, environmental disaster.”