The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) are holding a training exercise on Ainsdale Beach today to test their contractor response to an oil spillage incident.
Sefton Council is urging members of the public not to worry if they spot this exercise in action on the coast this morning (February 19) as it is not real.
In preparation, the Council has been working with the MCA to provide a suitable location for the exercise and to ensure that any disruption to the community is kept to a minimum.
There may be limited access to some parts of the beach, carpark and Ainsdale Discovery Centre which may need to be cordoned off to pedestrians and dog walkers, but this will only be a temporary measure for today and there is no cause for alarm.
Green Sefton’s operational staff will be on site to advise any local beach users about the exercise and to ensure the safety of public access around the test site.
There will be no actual pollutant used either at sea or on the foreshore and no lasting impact to the beach once the exercise is complete.
Councillor Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We’re urging people not to panic. The exercise is not real – but it provides a unique opportunity for us to help other agencies like the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to test their plans and will provide a wealth of insight and mutual benefit to Sefton and other Merseyside coastal Local Authorities in terms of ongoing shoreline pollution response and recovery planning.”
Ryan Carter, Resources and Claims Lead for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Counter Pollution and Salvage Branch, said: “Every year the MCA undertakes exercises with our partners across the country from ports, harbours, councils and other agencies to test our oil spill response.
“Today’s exercise is a ‘cold callout’ whereby we test our Oil Spill Response Tier 3 contractors, without giving them notice.
“We are very fortunate to be working with Sefton Council and their Green Sefton team in this area and shoreline around Ainsdale Beach. During the exercise there will be no actual pollution present.”