Ministers 'hiding facts about beach pollution'

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The Independent Online
HOLIDAYMAKERS are being deceived by the Government about the state of Britain's beaches, it was claimed yesterday.

Instead of cleaning up beaches, the Government was concealing facts and putting public health at risk, according to Ken Collins, a Labour MEP and chairman of the European Parliament environment committee. He said the Government had ignored test results showing salmonella and stomach illness-inducing enteroviruses in bathing water.

Speaking at a conference in London, Mr Collins claimed that:

Only two out of 33 East Anglian beaches were tested for salmonella. Both were contaminated but the Department of the Environment did not make this public;

Only 12 out of 51 Welsh beaches were tested for enteroviruses and the news that nine were contaminated 'was again kept quiet;' and only 16 out of 135 West Country resorts were tested for enteroviruses - 13 of these were polluted, but this was not made public.

'The Government's environmental policy is to deceive. It is time they stopped misleading the public and took action to protect public health,' Mr Collins said.

Meanwhile, a survey has concluded that Britain's beaches are becoming more polluted.

The study from Norwich Union Coastwatch UK, found that of the 2,114 kilometres of coast surveyed, 45 per cent was considered polluted and only 10 per cent was considered excellent in quality.

Nearly 25 per cent of the coastline surveyed had some sewage-related debris on it and the number of items of litter had doubled - to more than 350,000 - since the 1992 survey.