'Sludge' in sea at West Sussex beach explained

The Environment Agency has offered an explanation for an unusual sighting at a beach in West Sussex.

Photos taken last week showed something strange in the water. The photographer described it as ‘sludge’ – but locals have been reassured there are no reports of pollution in the area.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said “From the photos provided, we believe this is disturbed sediment suspended in the seawater. This disturbance could be caused by currents, wave action, changes of temperature or biological activity.

"We’ve had no reports of pollution in the Climping Area.

“We encourage anyone who sees suspected pollution incidents is asked to call our helpline on 0800 80 70 60.”

The quality of the water at Climping has long been cause for concern.

A military veteran, who regularly swims in the sea for his mental and physical health, said in 2021 that he was ‘appalled’ by the ‘disgusting’ quality of water.

Hamish Neathercoat later helped to launch a campaign to save the beach from the sea. Hamish said: “Our once beautiful beach has been washed away. The car park is covered in shingle.

“If no one does anything, our feeling as a community is – with rising sea levels and ever more frequent storm surges – we are going to be under water one day.”

In November 2023, the Environment Agency said officers are working hard to maintain Climping’s sea defences for as long as possible, but there will come a point where doing so proves too expensive.

The owners of land at Climping Beach also planned to submit a formal planning application to relocate the car park, café and toilets following storm damage.

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