Tarmac lorry falls from cliff as 2000 litres of road surface threatens to spill into sea


A lorry carrying 2,000 litres of ‘liquid Tarmac’ has fallen down a cliff on to a beach.

The vehicle, fell off a cliff just before 7am this morning.

Coastguard, police, fire service, and harbour authorities at Padstow, Cornwall have been working together to contain the spillage, which was in danger of entering the water.

Images appeared to show the lorry upside down and blackened, as if it had caught fire in the fall.

It was carrying bitumen – a thick, black tarry substance primarily used for road surfacing.

The Tarmac would have spilled out of the lorry, but according to the coastguard the “majority” of it has been contained and hardened, avoiding polluting the water reports Cornwalllive.

Police also confirmed no one was hurt in the accident at St Saviours Point and the lorry driver escaped before it tumbled off the edge.

Photos of the scene showed several emergency vehicles there from the morning, and also showed a picture of nearby South West Coastpath resurfacing works run by Cornwall Council.

Corserv, which runs Cormac, said the lorry was not owned by it, but by someone subcontracted by the company.

A spokesman told the publication: “An incident occurred this morning (July 9) in Padstow involving a subcontractor’s vehicle which has entered the water in the Camel Estuary.

“The vehicle was carrying non-hazardous liquid bitumen and swift action has been taken to contain any spills and a co-ordinated clean up of the environment is in progress.

“Cormac is currently on site and working with all the relevant agencies to recover the vehicle and make the area safe. There were no injuries to the driver or the public.”

Spillage ‘booms’ or heavy, absorbent rings, have been placed around the wreckage of the lorry to help contain the bitumen and prevent it from polluting the water.

A spokesman for Padstow Harbour said: “It is impossible at this stage to ascertain how much, if any, has entered the water.”

“Padstow Harbour’s oil spill responders, including booms, have been deployed and Tier Two responders Adier and Allen have been mobilised.

“The Harbour Office is liaising with several agencies to deal with the incident.

“The vehicle was unoccupied at the time and there are no reports of any injuries.”

A spokesman for HM Coastguard said the cleanup operation is still happening.

They also said the booms were put in place because the lorry was leaking into the estuary.

The spokesperson added: “The Harbour Authority has deployed their Oil Spill Response contractor to assist with the containment and recovery of bitumen that has been released from the vehicle.

“Padstow Coastguard Rescue Team was initially involved in this work and also providing a safety cordon but have now been stood down.

“Devon and Cornwall Police, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service and Padstow Harbour as well as the Environment Agency are coordinating a response.

“HM Coastguard and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s counter-pollution team are continuing to liaise with the harbour authorities and all others involved.

“A salvage company and clean up team have been called in and are liaising with Padstow Harbour.

“At this time the vehicle is above the water line (due to falling tide), and the bitumen released around the lorry has begun to solidify on the shoreline, so is currently not entering the harbour waters, and the majority of the release is contained.”