Rise in beaches failing safety standards

 
Beach in Blyth, Northumberland

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The number of beaches failing to meet minimum standards for water quality has risen following last year's wet summer.

A total of 42 beaches failed to meet the minimum EU levels expected for bathing water in testing in 2012, a rise of 17 on 2011's figures.

Heavy rain and flooding is blamed for washing pollution from town and sewers down to the sea.

There was also a huge drop in the number of beaches recommended for bathing in the latest Good Beach Guide.

Good Beach Guide: Top regions*

Location

Beaches

Recommended

Lincolnshire

9

100%

Swansea

10

90%

Kent

30

83%

Suffolk

6

83%

Norfolk

15

80%

Pembrokeshire

42

79%

Hampshire

13

77%

Anglesey

26

69%

Jersey

16

69%

East Sussex

17

65%

Only 403 of the 754 UK beaches assessed were awarded the top "recommended" award for their water quality in 2012, 113 fewer beaches than in the previous guide.

The previous year, a record number of beaches were given the top award.

Ear infections

The Marine Conservation Society, which publishes the Good Beach Guide, warned swimmers could fall ill from bathing in polluted water.

It said the rain and flooding led to an increase in bacteria and viruses in bathing water, coming from a variety of sources such as agricultural and urban run-off, storm waters, plumbing misconnections, septic tanks and dog waste.

The pollution can cause ear, nose and throat infections and even gastroenteritis.

The society said there was an urgent need for improved monitoring of overflow pipes which can discharge raw sewage into rivers and the sea from sewer networks when heavy rain overloads the system with water from street drains.

Least recommended regions*

Location

Beaches

Recommended

Redcar and Cleveland

6

0%

Durham

6

0%

Cumbria

12

0%

Lancashire

14

0%

Dumfries & Galloway

7

0%

Isle of Man

19

11%

South Ayrshire

11

18%

Fife

16

25%

Conwy

11

27%

North Ayrshire

7

29%

* With more than five beaches

Action was also needed to reduce pollution from farms and urban areas, ahead of tougher EU rules on water quality coming in from 2015, it said.

Coastal pollution officer Rachel Wyatt said: "Action must be taken now. With stricter bathing water standards from 2015 and summers that appear to be getting wetter, the iconic image of people bathing off golden beaches could be at serious risk.

"There is no simple solution to sewage and animal waste reaching our seas. However if the water industry, communities and local authorities recognise that there is a problem and begin to work together to find answers that would be a significant start."

The MCS said there were some promising local partnerships working together to identify problems and start trying to fix them, but in too many places there was an "out of sight, out of mind mentality" over water pollution.

The South West saw a number of its previously recommended beaches fail last year, including Plymouth Hoe East and West, Shaldon and Exmouth in Devon, East Looe and Bude Summerleaze in Cornwall and Charmouth West in Dorset.

In the North West, just three beaches are recommended for excellent water quality in the new guide, with popular beaches at Blackpool North and South failing to meet even the basic mandatory standards.

But Blackpool central and nearby St Anne's and St Anne's North beaches improved their water quality to reach the mandatory standard last year.

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 127.

    Hahahaha...all you self righteous paragons of virtue complaining about dogs fouling on the beach...have you never thought for a second where YOUR effluent goes?

    http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/9776729.Fury_as_raw_sewage_discharged_into_Bournemouth_s_blue_flag_waters/

    Before you start pointing the finger try doing a little research.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 126.

    Be careful what you wish for regarding sewage, we don't want another unregulated free market disaster ala water and electricity on our hands.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 125.

    Seems the dirty beaches are mainly up North.

    Down South we can't get to our beaches safely for all the pot holes in the road.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 124.

    I have just returned from Spain. The beach was cleaned every day. Dogs are not allowed on beach - and it's enforced. Not only that; the hotels, bars and their toilets are immaculate. Just one or two rather happy (English) drinkers. And this was in Benidorm....

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 123.

    I am sick of you people rattling on about dogs and owners!
    Dogs have lived with us since the Egyptians (at least) so why when it has only been the last decade owners have gone more than the extra mile to give you a clean environment has your water become polluted by dog poop?
    Some of people are really pushing the dog thing beyond stupidity!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 122.

    Sewage etc. is absolutely nothing in comparison to how toxic the "fracking" - ie. shale gas extraction is. It is now being supported by the UK government, and the public has a very limited time to stand up against it. Read up on it and how toxic and poisonous to (even drinking!!) water this is. Do all you can to stop it before it's too late or it will poison us.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 121.

    I wonder if there is any correlation between pollution and immigrants forn Third World countries coming into the UK? Have they the same sense of 'keep your country tidy' as us native Brits?

    I recently saw some men who were not British (to all appearances due to language, clothing,and behaviour) whoat a service station urinated in a shower and were dropping food and litter in the public concourse.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 120.

    Once again Osborne fiddles while Rome burns.

    People in mansions with 6 toilets should be made to pay a special 'dump' tax, for the extra faecal load. The environmental impact should be offset using ''convenience''-based fiscal measures. So you want 6 toilets? Ok Well then PAY AN EXTRA £25'000 PER TOILET... time to hit the rich where it hurts most.. in the throne room!!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 119.

    @108 Mikeb,
    To make a statement like that i reckon your sniffing something else before you get to Blackpool.
    The Flyde coast is one of the most spectacular in the world.
    If you are not used to living by the coast you will not realise that the only bad smells in Blackpool come from tourists who can't control their beer drinking!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 118.

    Let's just blame it on the fish deficating in the sea, makes about as much sense as blaming dogs.

  • rate this
    +25

    Comment number 117.

    I live in a seaside town. There is no such thing as a clean beach or a dirty beach. Tides and currents move pollution around quite rapidly. What is a clean beach one day can be contaminated the next. Nature is one force to be reckoned with, selfish, arrogant, irresponsible day-trippers and dog owners are another. Please take your litter and dog-mess home with you.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 116.

    107. niknak99
    Our population trebles for 4 months of the year yet locals pay the price for water and sewage systems for everyone."

    If you didn't, then you would have no tourists, and the local economies would crash.

    So, the locals benefit from tourism, so it's fair that the locals pay for the infrastructure that the tourists use.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 115.

    I really do not understand the comments criticising what the release of what are basically scientific facts, however unpalitable

    Of course if we were not obliged to comply with EU standards we could still be dumping raw sewage in the Irish Sea, and no doubt would be

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 114.

    Never mind the sewage - you can't walk across the beach here in Exmouth without paddling through dog pee infested sand (and frequently, more solid dog waste). The beach here is entirely given over to dogs between September and May, and the summer, the dog ban on parts of the beach is ineffective, because East Devon's only dog warden works office hours - and the dog owners know it.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 113.

    @109
    Ships AREN'T allowed to clean tanks at sea.
    Those ships that are deliberately sunk are cleaned rigorously before sinking then evolve into reefs which support wildlife.

    Still, dropping errant CEOs in the sea sounds a good idea, except many are so full of #### that they'd be a pollution hazard!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 112.

    Dirty Beaches are another failed New Labour experiment.

    Fat people on benefits should be made to go to the Seaside to collect litter. Also we should ban cigarettes and dogs and illegal immigrants from the beach. Also we should poison all the jellyfish, and dredge all the brown seaweed. Legalize shooting of Seagulls they are a nuisance, and Puffiins, and we should cull fish-stealing sea otters.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 111.

    The issues with increased levels of algae / bacteria resulting from nitrate fertilisers washed into the sea by last year's wet weather should rectify themselves naturally over time. For me the much bigger issue is the amount of dog fouling, not just on beaches but parks, footpaths, everywhere. The irresponsible dog owners unfortunately seem to be outnumbering a dwindling proportion of good ones.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 110.

    On the continent, the pollution inspectors are not so stupid as to take samples immediately after a storm as they know the samples will fail. In the UK, under the EU Bathing Waters Directive we are paying millions for UV treatment of effluent in bathing season in areas (e.g. Scotland) where it would be cheaper to send the few brave souls who dip their toes on package holidays to Bermuda.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 109.

    How about not letting boats clean their tanks at sea? How about not sinking ships at sea? How about taking account of all the dead birds,fish,dolphins,puffins,whales, and realising we have messed things up proper. The people will pay dearly for being ignorant to this mark my words. Instead of fining compainies-drop the CEO in north atlantic.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 108.

    Anyone who has been near to Blackpool's shoreline won't be surprised that it's polluted,until I went I had never seen(or smelled) such a disgusting body of water in this country,It's horrendous!

 

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