Up at 6am this morning for a Radio Kent interview on the growing number of unapproved small business advertising signs outside Westwood Cross but I've also been receiving a steady number of emails and phone calls about the seaweed smell along our seafront in the last week and the council has now published a fact sheet on its website where you can find more information on what can and can't be done about this unpleasant problem.
In recent years the laws have changed in regard to disposing of the seaweed, both through European legislation and our own Environment Agency. My information is that the council can't simply haul it away to a landfill like it did before. So, in relation to seaweed in general the council's aim is to leave it if possible. However, if it can be moved within a bay area to a location where the tide is more likely to remove and not return the seaweed then this is an option and you may notice the council teams at work by 5AM. The success of this can depend on the state of the tide and wind as well as other factors, but is more often successful than is often thought.
The avenues the council has available for the actual removal of seaweed from the coast are fairly limited, especially as the farmer's fields it can use under licence from the Environment Agency are all still under crop. The council of course uses its allotments as much as it can where the seaweed is well received, but the quantities are relatively small.
Other treatment options are not available in or near the district at the moment, and these are all likely to have cost issues as so far nobody appears to be willing to take the weed at approaching zero cost. Previous figures that exist had for sites in the west of Kent are reportedly unaffordable.
The council's aim of seeking a broad range of alternatives, is to avoid the need to try and move seaweed to other locations but when faced with such a huge innundation of weed at the start of the summer holidays the local council has to manage with what it can and with the resources it has available; taking a variety of actions all around the coast to and with a primary focus on removing weed from the main advertised and awarded beaches.
Finally, Dr Alasdair Bruce and I will be meeting with our local MPs Roger Gale and Laura Sandys on Friday to discuss the problem and potential solutions.
See BBC South-east Today news video.