Friday, 15 November 2013

Birse attacks back on Redcar Beach

The gloves are off! Well actually they're on as Birse Civil get into action on Redcar beach. Friends of Redcar (FRED) are pleased to announce that following our plea and voluntary efforts to remove rubble on Redcar beach that the contractor Birse Civil have come back and carried out their own sweep.

Rubble and  material collected by Birse Civil 
Over a couple of days in November, Birse Civil managed to remove tons of rubble that would have taken the community action group much longer.

FRED would like to publicly thank Birse Civil for listening to their concerns that rubble buried during the installation of the new Coastal Defences has been resurfacing due to dissipating sand and movement of the sea. FREDs concern is that the rubble remaining is detrimental to tourism and residents alike who will not use a beach that is dangerous and visually unpleasing.

Carl Quartermain Chairman of Friend said "I am very pleased that common sense has prevailed. I've been in contact with Simon Kirtlan the Project Manager of the Flood Alleviation Scheme in Redcar for Birse and thanked him for his efforts to help our seaside town improve its image. 

"However, the rubble is still horrendous and likely to turn up for years. I did wonder if 'Atonement 2' was about to be made because it looks like a war-zone, particularly around the cinema where the original movie was filmed

"I have requested that Birse come back in the Spring and that we build an event around this which includes Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council (RCBC) and FRED.

"Nobody would employ a contractor into their home and allow them to leave rubbish and debris on their property without permission. My concern is RCBC have done exactly that which isn't in the interest of Redcar's residents and businesses who have to live with the knock-on consequences.

"Less visitors equal less trade, it's that simple. Utilising our own council's maintenance team to clean up over the years, effects our council tax and resources which could be used on other eyesores such as Locke Park, Kirkleatham or any overgrown waste land.

"Residents and businesses who care about their area must get involved. I'd request the council review tendering and land management policies to include independent inspections with resident groups who can oversee unused, demolished or recently constructed ground within their ward and ensure they are managed conscientiously by the landowner, whether private or public, with repercussions for failure. 

"Cleared building sites shouldn't be allowed to remain fenced off, broken up and overgrown for months and even years and action needs to be taken to stop these magnets for fly tipping and anti-social behaviour."

Thanks to Simon Kirtlan of Birse for these picture and for listening to the concerns 

FRED continually campaigns for the removal of masonry on Redcar beach and carries out events to remove litter all year round. If you would like to become involved contact and search on facebook and twitter.


Monday, 11 November 2013

FRED November Open Monthly Meeting

Please note our final open meeting this year is on Thursday 14th November at 6:30pm to discuss our projects and progress. 

This will take place in St.Peter's Church, Lord Street, Redcar TS10 3JL and shouldn't be any longer than an hour.

All are welcome to come along and participate if you wish to. 

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Friends of Redcar Beach Action Group November 2013 at Zetland The Stray

What initially looked to be very blustery turned out to be a beautifully mild and clear morning and another very productive litter pick was carried out by Friends of Redcar (FRED) on The Stray on Redcar Beach.

Ten volunteers including an employee from Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council (RCBC) turned up and concentrated their efforts on litter picking from the Zetland Roundabout slipway up to parallel with The Stray CafĂ©. This included the groynes and the sand dunes. 

The Stray from Zetland Slipway looking towards Saltburn

Amongst many items collected were ropes and netting from fishing vessels, bottle caps, a couple of left shoes(?), blue taprogge balls from Hartlepool Nuclear plant, cotton bud sticks and sanitary items that are flushed down the toilet and float back onto our beach.

Found on our beach, blue 'taprogge' balls courtesy of Hartlepool Nuclear Plant and Cotton Bud sticks

What is very noticeable in the Zetland area is that the large amounts of building material, left over by Birse Civil when the Coastal Defences were built, appears to have increased as more and more is becoming revealed by dissipating sand. 

Rubble that had been buried is being exposed all over Redcar beach. Polypropylene fibres reveal much of this is from the new build by Birse Civil.

Are you going to bring your children here for a picnic?

Building material found sporadically all over the sea defences and bags of building sand amongst the masonry at Zetland

"The litter pick was very successful and we'd like to thank those who took part and to Paul Reed of RCBCs Neighbourhood Team for providing us with bags and pickers", said Carl Quartermain, Chairman of FRED, "Unfortunately we had to turn a blind eye to the fact that the some parts of the beach up here, just as it is in Coatham, is virtually a landfill site thanks to Birse Civil and effectively unusable by residents and visitors. We plan to carry out rubble picks here in the future"

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council took over 30 bags of beach litter away to be disposed of properly.

FRED continually campaigns for the removal of masonry on Redcar beach and carries out events to remove litter all year round. If you would like to become involved contact and search on facebook and twitter.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Birse Inspection of Redcar Beach Rubble

Following our Beach Action Group complaints regarding the masonry left behind by Birse Civil on Redcar Beach, Friends of Redcar (FRED) was invited to inspect the beach by James Mead of the Environmental Agency accompanied by a Simon Kirtlan project manager of Birse Civil and Darren Edmunds of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council (RCBC) on the 24th October 2013.

We made it clear from the off that we were under no illusion that the rubble that is turning up along the coastal defences is debris buried by Birse and now re-emerging due to the movement of the sea and the dissipation of the sand. We also presented them with a sample of masonry containing polypropylene fibres, continually turning up along the defences, from the new build.

Varieties of rubble mostly from the destruction of the last sea front that was buried and not disposed of in a landfill

Polypropylene filled masonry used in the building of the Flood Alleviation project.

The inspection covered the Coatham area from the Beacon to the TunedIn building and did not take into consideration the associated problem at the Zetland end of the beach. FRED recognise that not all the rubble is from the Coastal defences work and have maintained that large pieces of weathered rubble further out on the petrified forest and scars have been there for years and should be dealt with by RCBC.

(We will be working with the council to remove these boulders over the next year following our plans to schedule litter/masonry picks to specified locations and times). (

However, the debris next to the coastal defences is not tidal wash. FRED insists that this IS Birse's responsibility because the broken masonry was buried there by them and now they should 'hold their hands up' and bring in clear-up teams. This includes both the Coatham and Zetland areas of our beach that now resemble landfill and cleared building sites. FRED has requested that a channelled trough of at least 6x6 and probably wider, be dug into the sand along the Coastal Defences and that the sand be sieved and returned - rubble free.

Left to Right: (Just out of shot) Simon Kirtlan (Birse -Project Manager), Darren Edmunds (RCBC liaison) James Mead (Environmental Agency - Project Manager) behind a trailer full of debris collected next to the new defences within a two hour period.
During the inspection the Birse project manager rarely spoke or offered much in the way of an explanation. However, James Mead of the Environmental Agency and project manager over the Birse Coastal contract informed us that Redcar beach already looked "as bad as this when the work began". He went to add that much of the rubble was washed in by the tide. Both these claims were refuted by FRED as well as council employees whose work has included cleaning the beach for years.  James Mead stated rubble was "inert" from an environmental point of view and made it clear that removing sand to be cleaned, was not an option and that at best, Birse would do a couple more sweeps in light of the complaint.

FRED have accepted Birse's (EA's) offer to provide a couple of sweeps and have requested they come back in the Spring too and to provide dates for these actions. We are yet to receive dates for these sweeps or any information of follow up work carried out by them.

However we feels that this is wholly inadequate and stated this on the day.

"In light of the overwhelming evidence, the detrimental visual image and the safety issues to beach-goers, I can't help but feel insulted and even trivialised. I've used the beach for 25 years and for the best part it is now a hideous eyesore along the coastal defences steps." said Carl Quartermain, Chairman of Friends of Redcar. "I have written to the Operations Director of the Regeneration Scheme RCBC saying that this is just not good enough and that the council must do more to bring about a resolve.

"I not only feel a deep lack of concern by the Environmental Agency and a loud silence from Birse but also a reluctance by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council to bring the contractor to task for this unsatisfactory clean up. Redcar beach will be turning up this stuff for years and yet RCBC leaders don't seem to be forcing Birse to sort it out. Why?

"It's difficult to understand. If I was in a position of authority in the council I'd jump all over this. Our coastline is our greatest asset and what's happened is inherently bad for the town.

"In any case, regardless of the fact that this year was a chance to show off our new £30 million sea front and facilities, regardless of the fact that Redcar suffers economically and regardless of the efforts to bring in visitors by providing new events, the bottom line is that this is our home and our beach and our council is allowing outside agencies to come in and leave an unforgivable mess that will impact on us for decades."

Linked to

Redcar Flood Alleviation Scheme Complaint Part.One
Redcar Flood Alleviation Scheme Complaint Part.Two
Redcar Flood Alleviation Scheme Complaint Part.Three
Redcar's Beach Rubble Problem Old and New

FRED would like to thank Anna Turley (Labour and Co-operative candidate for Redcar) Merily McGivern (Lib Dem) John Colling (RCBC Neighbourhood Maintenance team) Mark Skidmore (FRED committee member) for their attendance and support.

If you feel strongly about this issue and would like to be involved, below are some relevant email addresses. The RCBC have assured FRED that they respond to all concerns. is the Regeneration Operations Director for RCBC is the project manager for the EA is the project manager for Birse Civil. liaison officer for RCBC leader of RCBC is the MP for Redcar

Relevant councillors :-
Irene Curr and Josie Crawford (Coatham Ward)
Ron Harrison and Josh Mason (Zetland Ward)

If you would like to become a member and follower of FRED check out the following links:

or write to

Friday, 1 November 2013

Friends of Redcar Beach Action Group November 2013

We love a fresh morning on Redcar beach! We're on The Stray removing litter Sunday morning at 10am - 12pm. Come and join us. Kids are welcome too. The more the merrier. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

FRED October Open Monthly Meeting

Please note our open meeting is tomorrow at 6:30pm to discuss our plans and developments. This will take place in Torus Digital Marketing office, 2nd Floor, The Palace Hub, 28-29, Esplanade, Redcar, TS10 3AE

All are welcome to come along and listen to what we have planned and planning and to participate if you wish to. Tea and coffee provided with a great open view. Free parking is available along the sea front and in the town centre after 6pm. 

Someone will be waiting to greet you outside the Palace Hub and assist you through the side entrance and with directions up to the 2nd floor. 

***Please note after 6:30pm the meeting will commence and the building is secured. If you are running late please take down  this tel. no (07966985444) so somebody can let you in.***

All are welcome to come along and listen to what we have planned and planning and to participate if you wish to. Tea and coffee provided with a great open view. Free parking is available along the sea front and in the town centre after 6pm. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Redcar's Beach Rubble Problem Old and New

Since we began this “crusade” of removing rubble from our beach following the building of the new coastal defences and striving to get the Environmental Agency and Birse to come back to clean up, one of the criticisms we get is that masonry has been on the beach for decades and that no matter how often we remove rubble it will keep coming back.

We disagree. If material does comes back why does it strategically form only along the new defences? If it is cleaned up we don’t believe it would come back in any great volume or size. The rubble that continually is revealed is the stuff that had been buried old and new next to the defences when the new work was built.

So is there old rubble on the beach from previous developments? Short answer to that is YES. Of course there is. We have never disputed that old rubble has been on the beach for years. And it ain’t pretty! There is lots of old rubble of different shapes and sizes, age and variety. However the amount has multiplied drastically since the work, making it all much more noticeable and undesirable.

There are differences between old and new fabrication that has been exposed to the elements. We have seen so much of it now we could probably start a course on marine rubble. If we had the money to waste we could also examine the varieties and complete an historical survey of the many surfaces that have been used on Redcar's sea front. We haven’t got funds to waste on trivia, but our common sense tells us much of the rubble that is visible, is new.

Not all of it is broken up concrete either. Some of the rubble is house bricks or different types of paving for example. There’s many difference sizes, style and colours, old and new. Further out away from the sea defences are examples of masonry that have been weathered, eroded and shaped over time by the thrashing of the waves.

Selection of Redcar beach rubble. Some are shaped from years on the coast. Other pieces are clearly newly formed.

Commonly formed concrete rubble that has been subjected to the elements for years tends to become darker, often brownish and can be stained with marine growth if static for long enough. It is often shaped and rounded. These examples in Redcar are large boulders that have been in the sea for many years and are 'our' responsibility to remove if we want a beach clean of these eyesores.

Old stained rubble with kelp accessories not far from the Redcar Beacon

Marine life existent on static rubble too heavy to be moved by the sea

Browned and ancient rubble on the petrified forest

This massive piece is next to the Dundas Street slipway (No it isn't a rock!)

The new rubble that has recently been formed and which dwarfs what was originally on our beach, looks clean and often reveals reinforced lengths of polypropylene, used on the new and previous development. This stuff is found next to our sea defences and logically can only be from the installation of the new and the demolition of the old sea defences last year (2012). This same material can be seen on the runaway going down to the beach from Dundas Street and on the bottom few steps along the seaward side of the seawall. Closer scrutiny and you can see the identical fibres protruding where the edges have been damaged.

We are asking that the Environmental Agency come back and do a clean of the areas around the sea defences that are littered with masonry. They state they did a thorough clean up and this rubble was either washed in or has always been there. Our answer to that is if they cleaned up properly the old rubble would have gone with this new stuff. We believe lots of this debris was buried and is subsequently being uncovered by the natural shifting of sand and movement of the sea.

If we recognise this as a problem now, we could easily arrange to get this shifted before the next summer season and visitor attraction campaigns begin. We are waiting for a date when the Environmental Agency will invite us along to carry out an inspection and continue to inform Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council of our information and concerns.


Thank you for all the photos. We have many on our system now and will show the many that haven't been published yet. Thanks also to Fred Brunskill for the additional information regarding the polypropylene fibres.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Friends of Redcar Beach Action Group October 2013

A very mild and sunny day in October and a good reason to get on the beach to collect up more of that masonry left over from the Coastal Defences Regeneration work. 

And the proof is in the pictures. The 3 mounds of rubble displayed in the photos were created in just 2 hours with a handful of people. (Just imagine what could be achieved).

Undoubtedly there is rubble and brick in amongst that collected that has been on our beach for decades. However as I said in my response to the Environmental Agency, who claim no responsibility, if their clean up had been thorough much of the old rubble would have gone with the new debris we have found.

New rubble to big and deep to be removed by hand

Scarlett working hard to dig this rubbish up
 We heard lots of complaints from residents who have said they have written to council members and their MP and are either met with closed replies or no reply at all and that no one is picking up this issue.

We advise residents that the matter lies not with the MP or the council but with the Environment Agency, and we are in contact with our council demanding that the clean up needs revisiting. 

It is the EA who oversaw this project by Birse Coastal and now claim they have no responsibility to the debris left behind (It's washed in and always been there apparently).

We collected and created 3 large mounds of rubble. Well done Scarlett

The concerns are apparent and therefore we ask you to write to your Redcar councillors, Environmental Agency and Ian Swales MP to help us highlight a genuine problem that residents shouldn't have to deal with. Just send the link to our posts and tell them what you think.

Ian Swales MP states that his office responds to all queries regarding beach rubble addressed by constituents. These concerns are passed to the council, into whose remit the management of the Birse contract falls. Ian himself has participated with a beach clean up event by FRED. The council are also concerned that locals feel angered and state they will reply to any complaint. They too are eager to confirm that they work with FREDs beach actions

Before I sign off I'd like to say a big thank you to Denise Thompson and little Alfie McKenna who came to their first litter pick today and worked hard to show residents what we are fighting against. A beach that looks in part like a cleared building site.

Our beach clean ups will be every first Sunday of each month. Next one will be a litter pick on the Stray, meeting at Zetland roundabout at 10am on the 3rd November tide permitting. See you there?

Our next open meeting is 6:30pm at the Palace Hub on the 17th October - tea and coffee provided. Come along it's about your home - Redcar.

Thanks everyone and join our club  (just sign up and look for "Friends of Redcar")


Thursday, 3 October 2013

FRED Exclusive membership club details

Ok here we go! Friends of Redcar FRED is opening the membership website here. YES OF COURSE IT'S FREE (If you're wondering)

Joining is very simple. If you're in the range shown you can join using your postcode to find us. If not or you prefer not to use your address you can use our postcode TS10 3AE. 

Oh the link!! Here it is - Just click on FRED

So what does joining FRED mean? 

Well unlike most other websites FRED offers EXCLUSIVE information that you wont see elsewhere. As a member you'll have access to competitions, events and all our documents, minutes, letters. Here you can also converse through our forum, buy and sell items and generally raise issues and discuss our home, Redcar.

By bringing FRED to it's own home we are providing you with all the details about our group in an easily navigated site. We value blogger and facebook ETC., but there's nothing like having your own exclusive membership club. This is our commitment to you but this is also your way of showing us that you care about Redcar and what we are trying to achieve.

Becoming a member doesn't require any participation from you but it allows you the choice. We'll keep you informed about your community projects and provide you with the knowledge and ability to join in with events or meetings if you wish to do so. Communication really does make things happen and the more voices we have the stronger our messages become.  

Oh and if you are the 100th member to join you'll win yourself a lemon top ice cream from Pacitto's. Can we top that? Yes we can - We'll top that with sprinkles - that's right you get sprinkles too! How can you not join us now?OMG! :D

So what are you waiting for. Join FRED and be a Friend of Redcar now

Any problems joining FRED? Contact us here or on fb/twitter or email