Safety information about Mount Batten beach
Although most of Mount Batten beach has reopened, we have unfortunately had to keep part of the beach closed for the time being because there are still some asbestos-containing materials (small pieces of cement) on the beach (there are pictures below, right of examples of the materials).
You can still:
- Access the sea via the pontoons and slipways
- Take part in activities with Mount Batten Watersports Activity Centre
- Use most of Mount Batten beach apart from the area which is still closed off
- Use the Mount Batten ferry and water taxi
There are new signs both on and around the beach to show which areas of the beach are closed off, and also what the asbestos-containing materials look like. If you do see these pieces, please do not pick them up, touch them or try to break them up.
During the period the whole beach was closed, contractors removed around 600 kg of the asbestos-containing materials and we are confident that the east side of the beach is clear. However, while most of the beach has been cleared now, there is still one small area to the west of the steps down to Mount Batten beach where we are continuing to find more pieces and we will also be continuing to test the sand in the closed off area for fibres over the coming months.
Asbestos fibres (derived from broken pieces of asbestos-containing material) are only a risk if they are disturbed and become airborne. On that basis,the risk is very low. The actual pieces of cement would not break easily so there is low risk of the fibres becoming airborne. The risk is even lower when they are underwater or are wet (i.e. in the sand below the high tide mark), but you are still advised to avoid the areas with pieces of cement containing asbestos.
We appreciate that this is not ideal and we thank all beach users for their patience, but the health and safety of our residents is our top priority and this is why the beach had to be closed in the first place.
The beach will continue to be monitored and it is hoped that the rest of the beach will also eventually be able to be reopened.
Health information on asbestos
The asbestos found on Mount Batten beach is low grade and low risk as outlined above. If you are concerned about exposure to asbestos, however you should speak to your GP. Find out more on the NHS website.