The county council has submitted a planning application which would allow the main works to get underway to tackle the landfill pollution at Lynemouth.
After decades of colliery spoil tipping, the erosion there has accelerated in recent years, revealing sites of historic waste previously buried within the cliffs.
The site was subject to a land reclamation by the county council in the early 2000s, meaning the local authority is responsible for it.
As previously reported, the council has committed to a clean-up project which could cost a total of £7.5million, allocating £2.5million over two years when approving its budget in February 2020.
In May, the authority’s decision-making cabinet signed off on £500,000 for the environmental reporting, design and ground investigation works needed to secure the necessary consents.
Subject to receiving a marine licence and environmental waste permit, which are being sought alongside planning permission, it is hoped work will begin in the spring to excavate more than 200,000 tonnes of cliff material, from which waste will be extracted and sensitively disposed of, before placing back the remainder of the material.
Council leader Glen Sanderson said: “This is another milestone on this very technical scheme to greatly improve the environment on this stretch of coastline.
“It’s important we have all the right permissions and licences in place before we can proceed and we remain fully committed to working with key stakeholders in order to deliver a viable scheme that will enable us to tackle these pollution issues once and for all.
“After decades of neglect, we are determined to do all we can to clean it up.”
A number of temporary measures have already been introduced in the area, including air monitoring, the temporary diversion of the England Coastal Path and continued pollution clearance.
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.
Cllrs Scott Dickinson and Liz Dunn, who represent Druridge Bay and Lynemouth respectively, said: “We have worked hard with the council to keep this at the forefront and ensure it progresses.
“The council team has done a great job with the planning and scoping of this to progress to the next stage. We look forward to continuing to support this work during 2021.”