SEA coalers have been allowed to return to work on Hartlepool’s beaches.
And Coun Marjorie James, chair of Hartlepool Council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee, has welcomed the lifting of access restrictions which means sea coalers can take their vehicles onto the sands.
She said: “It was only ever intended to be a temporary measure, but it has taken a lot longer than expected to get to the point where we have been able to allow the sea coalers to return to the beaches.”
The Council, which leases the beaches from The Crown Estate, took the decision to block access pending the outcome of an application to vary its lease. Without the variation, the council feared that sea coalers would be trespassing - rendering their insurance invalid - and it would be acting illegally by allowing them access.
But confirmation of a lease variation came through, and Coun James and chief executive Dave Stubbs agreed to remove locks from barriers at several access points.
Gary Jackson, a representative of the local sea coal trade and who runs his own health and safety training company, said: “For many of the current sea coalers there is no other path for them to go down, sea coaling is their life. I’m glad that the issue has now been resolved and I’d like to thank the Council for chasing up matters with the Crown Estates.”