Work clearing out more than 100,000t of debris left behind by November’s flooding has begun at Workington’s port.
A month’s worth of rain on Workington in two days on 19 and 20 November meant the mouth of the River Derwent was blocked by boulders, trees, rocks and silt.
It is thought there is 60,000 cubic metres of material stuck in the river’s basin, and the clean-up costs are estimated at £1M.
A specialist dredger called the Manu Pekka has come from Calais to help shift the waste, and marine engineers will move it to a designated area out at sea.
Despite the problems, Workington has continued to operate as a port at about 70% capacity since November, with pilots guiding boats in and out by timing their journeys at high tides.
The Marine Fisheries Agency issued an emergency dredging licence following talks with the Environment Agency and Natural England.
Tony Markley, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member responsible for economic development, said: “The dredgers are working flat out over the Christmas break to get the port cleaned up as soon as possible.
“The sheer volume of material flushed out by the floods is almost unimaginable.”