Anger as Hartlepool City Council opts out of new marine life death inquiry

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Hartlepool Borough Council bosses have stressed work is continuing after a motion was passed in July to do all they can to support the fishing industry following the mass death of crabs and lobsters in the region.

A request was made for an update on actions to date at the last full council meeting and it was confirmed that a request from Redcar and Cleveland Council for a joint investigation had been denied.

Chief Solicitor Hayley Martin said the request was discussed with Hartlepool’s head of council, chief executive, head of statutory review and chairman of audit and governance.

Hartlepool Borough Councilor Jonathan Brash is “utterly appalled” by the council’s decision not to participate in a joint inquest into the marine life deaths.

She said: “It was agreed that due to our review arrangements and the fact that we already had our own motion focusing on economic issues, we should not join the joint review committee in the Tees Valley.”

She added that Hartlepool was not the only local authority to refuse.

In response, Labour’s deputy group leader, Councilor Jonathan Brash, said: ‘I am truly appalled that we have chosen to reject an offer from another authority to work on an issue which really, really concerns some people.

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A dead crab spotted by Mail reader Carl Clyne in October last year.

“That strikes me as quite bizarre and I would say that in the future, if suggestions are put forward like this, wider consultation with elected members would be beneficial.”

Union counselor Rachel Creevy has since sent a letter to council leadership asking for further explanation of the decision, adding that “answers are needed”.

At the full council, it was confirmed by Deputy Chief Councilor Mike Young that interested parties would be invited to the next Economic Growth and Regeneration Committee to discuss marine life deaths.

He added that an evidence report was being prepared and discussions had taken place with Hartlepool MP Jill Mortimer.

Council leader Councilor Shane Moore confirmed he had written to the Minister of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about the matter.

A government inquiry had previously concluded that a harmful algal bloom was the most likely explanation for the mass death of crustaceans last October.

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