Work has begun to tackle erosion that forced the closure of a West Cumbrian coast road more than two months ago.

The B5300 between Maryport and Silloth has been closed around Dubmill Point since February 20.

The closure came after an inspection revealed that the bank between the road and the beach had receded by almost two metres in two months.

Work was already planned to install rock armour on the beach but that could not begin until licences were granted by government body the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and by Natural England.

Permission was granted by the MMO by March 1, and Natural England later granted consent for work to take place within a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) But the defence work could not begin until a European Protected Species licence was granted, also by Natural England.


The council applied for that on March 25, and the licence was received on Wednesday, April 17.

A council spokesman said the licence required an ecologist to be on site throughout the work to monitor progress and ensure that the nearby natterjack toad population, and the wider SSSI, were not disrupted.

An ecologist was appointed and, because of the Easter break, today was the earliest work could start.

It is estimated that the project could take two to three months to complete, but the spokesman said it would be done as quickly as possible.

He added: "Crews are working 11-hour days, six days a week, subject to tides.

"We will look at options regarding the opening the road if possible and safe to do so."