Don't come on in... the water's terrible: major reduction in number of recommended beaches

 

A dip in the sea will be the last thing on many people’s minds this Easter – but that may be for the best on some parts of the coast, with the quality of seawater dramatically worsening at famous British bathing spots because of last year’s heavy summer rainfall.

The number of beaches failing to meet even minimum standards for water quality has risen, and the South West in particular saw a number of its previously recommended beaches fail, including Exmouth in Devon and Bude Summerleaze in Cornwall. In the North West, just three beaches are recommended for excellent water, with popular beaches at Blackpool North and South failing to meet even the basic mandatory standards.

The alarming results were revealed in the annual Marine Conservation Society (MCS) report, which assesses water quality at most UK beaches, looking for pollutants and safety hazards.

The organisation warns today that swimmers could fall ill from bathing in water polluted by an increase in harmful bacteria and viruses.

Out of 754 beaches surveyed, just 403 were awarded the top “recommended” award in 2012, 113 fewer than the previous year. Meanwhile, 42 beaches failed to meet the minimum EU levels for acceptable bathing water, 17 more than 2011’s figures published in the Good Beach Guide.

The major reduction in the number of recommended beaches stems from the effects of rain and flooding, such as agricultural and urban run-off, storm waters, plumbing misconnections, septic tanks and dog waste.

Bathers can contract ear, nose and throat infections and gastroenteritis as a result of the contamination.

Ahead of tougher EU rules on water quality coming in from 2015 and the forecast of further wet summers, MCS has called for drastic action to be taken by water companies and local councils.

Criticising what they call an “out of sight, out of mind” approach, the organisation instead recommend the monitoring of sewer overflows, clear signposts warning of polluted water and even that tourists should report any pollution they might see.

MCS coastal pollution officer Rachel Wyatt said: “We have recommended fewer beaches in every English region and in Wales and Scotland. In England, the North West and South West were particularly badly hit with the fewest number of recommended beaches for at least a decade.

“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.”

Britain’s beaches on the critical list

Exmouth Boasts a bustling tourism industry, but has too much bacteria to meet Good Beach Guide’s standards

Rhyl A popular Victorian resort, Rhyl’s beach did not meet the standards. Nearby Prestatyn is cleaner

Portobello Central This Edinburgh beach  improved this year with reduced levels of E coli bacteria

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam