Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Beaches' water quality hit by disastrous summer

Last year’s disastrous summer – one of the wettest on record – has led to a significant drop in the quality of bathing water of Britain’s beaches.

The relentless rain and flooding led to an increase in the amount of bacteria and viruses ending up in the country’s bathing waters.

And the North-East, including North Yorkshire, was particularly hard-hit according to the Marine Conservation Society’s annual Good Beach Guide.

Eight of the region’s breaches failed to meet the minimum standard – compared to none last year.

And after being the best performing region in last year’s guide, this year only 31 out of 64 beaches are recommended by MCS for excellent water quality - 22 less than before.

Nationally 42 beaches failed to meet a minimum standard – 17 more than last year – and only 403 of the 754 UK bathing beaches tested as having excellent water quality - 113 fewer than the previous year.

The pollution found can originate from a variety of sources such as agricultural and urban run-off, storm waters, misconnected plumbing, septic tanks and dog faeces.

MCS coastal pollution officer Rachel Wyatt said improved monitoring of combined sewer overflows and action to reduce pollution from farms and populated areas was urgently needed.

She 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."

Beaches that failed in the North-East and North Yorkshire included: Sandsend, Staithes, Saltburn, Seaton Carew North, Seaham, Seaton Sluice and Spittal.

Saltburn's annual Spring beach clean, scheduled for last Sunday, has had to be postponed due to continued bad weather.

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