A trial has taken place in Southampton of a "revolutionary" clean-up of plastic pellets from a Southampton nature reserve.

Not for profit organisation, Nurdle has been trialling the clean up at the internationally important Chessel Bay Nature Reserve this week.

Taking place over Wednesday and Thursday, the trial is aimed at cleaning up tiny plastic pellets called "nurdles" which are said to be "drastically" polluting the reserve.

The pellets are approximately 4mm in size and used in injection moulding machines when creating plastic products such as plastic bottles, containers, shopping bags and supermarket packaging but when they are spilt into waterways, they become prolific pollutants.

Nurdle have designed a prototype machine to remove microplastics from the environment, focussing specifically on these pre-production pellets, that was tested on 11 beaches around the South West last year and works by vacuuming up the material, sieving and separating it from organics and removing the nurdles.

Permission for the clean-up was given by Southampton City Council and Natural England and leader of the council, Councillor Daniel Fitzhenry, said: “I applaud the ground breaking and innovative work being done by the Environment Agency and Nurdle to clean up this plastic pollution from a Site of Special Scientific Interest here in Southampton.

“These tiny plastic pellets threaten the health and wellbeing of the bird and marine life in Chessel Bay and elsewhere, and once spilled they are exceptionally difficult to clear up without causing further damage to the environment.

"While it is fantastic news that it looks as though this machine will be able to effectively clear up after these spills, we need to ensure that they’re not happening in the first place.”

The project, which is one of the first of its kind in Europe has received funding from the Environment Agency which has issued advice to manufacturers to prevent further pellet loss.

As a result of the work undertaken at Chessel Bay, they have partnered with the cleaning company Karcher and over the last four months have produced a second machine, designed specifically to improve the health of the area T