Tag Archives: britain

Britain’s beaches fail European hygiene standards

Britain’s beaches fail European hygiene standards
An increasing number of popular swimming spots in the UK have failed to meet European hygiene standards including parts of Lake Windemere, the chic Cornish resort of Rock in Cornwall and Sandgate in Kent.

By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent
Published: 6:03PM BST 12 Jun 2009
Britain’s beaches fail European hygiene standards
Rock beach in Cornwall which has failed European hygiene standards Photo: MARTIN POPE

The vast majority of the nation’s favourite coastal areas and inland lakes or rivers meet strict EU bathing water cleanliness standards.

However the heavy rains last summer means that more sewage, litter and chemical run-off from farms was found in the 608 swimming spots assessed last year. Some 24 coastal areas and Millerground Landings in Lake Windermere failed to meet the minimum standard, which means they may not be safe to swim in at certain times of year or in particular areas. This is a rise from the 20 beaches that failed the test in 2007.

The EU does not consider the bathing areas dirty enough to close them down but leaves it up to the local authority or Environment Agency to test the water and advise the public if it is safe to swim.

Most of the UK bathing areas needing improvement were in the South West – Devon and Cornwall – and in Scotland including Portobello in Edinburgh and beaches around Plymouth.

Earlier in the year the Marine Conservation Society recommended just 370 out of 775 of the UK’s most popular bathing beaches in its annual Good Beach Guide, a fall of 17 per cent on last year and the lowest number since 2002.

Keep Britain Tidy have also reported the number of beaches awarded a Blue Flag for overall cleanliness this year fell by 11 to 71 – although that is still an improvement from 2002 when just 45 made the grade.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it is tackling the problem of pollution from sewers by tightening standards to stop leaks. The problem of run off from farms is being dealt with by awarding grants to build fences between livestock and watercourses and controlling use of chemicals.

“We’re working to improve sewerage systems and are aware of the effect heavy rain and flooding can have on our coastal bathing waters” said a spokesman.

The EU carried out tests at more than 21,000 bathing spots around 27 countries last year. The vast majority in favourite holiday spots like Cyprus, France and Spain met EU hygiene requirements with 96 per cent of the total coastal bathing areas and 92 per cent of bathing sites in rivers and lakes up to standard.

UK beaches and inland swimming spots failing to meet minimum EU clean water standards in 2008 were:

Northern Ireland:

Ballyholme.

Scotland:

Machrihanish (Argyll and Bute),

Saltcoats/Ardrossan (North Ayrshire)

Sandyhills (Dumfries and Galloway)

Portobello Central (Edinburgh)

Rosehearty (Aberdeenshire),

Cruden Bay (Aberdeenshire)

Aberdeen.

Wales:

Llandanwag

South West:

Seaton (Cornwall)

East Looe (Cornwall)

Rock (Cornwall)

Readymoney (Cornwall)

Porthluney (Cornwall)

Plymouth Hoe East (Devon)

Plymouth Hoe West (Devon)

Exmouth (Devon)

Instow (Devon)

Coombe Martin (Devon)

North:

Allonby (Cumbria)

St Bees (Cumbria)

Aldingham (Cumbria)

Windermere, Millerground landings (Cumbria)

Yorkshire and Humberside:

Staithes (North Yorkshire)

South East:

Sandgate (Kent).

Read the original article from the Telegraph.co.uk here

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under litter, Sea Pollution, Water Quality

Travel advice: Beware beach guides

Guides to the best of Britain’s beaches do not necessarily tell the whole story, advises Sophie Butler.

For most of us, the summer wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the seaside. But how can you make sure you choose a beach that isn’t littered and contaminated by polluted water?

You might imagine that the Good Beach Guide 2009, launched by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) earlier this month, would be the answer. But it doesn’t give the whole picture.

What it does give you is information about the seawater. It includes details of its water testing for more than 770 beaches in the UK, listing the top 370 beaches that pass the EC’s most stringent “guideline” water tests, those that pass the less demanding “mandatory” levels; it also names 78 blacklisted beaches where the water fails the minimum legal standards.

But it doesn’t tell you how clean the sand is, how well managed the beach facilities are, whether the dog ban is effective, litter is picked up, swimming and watersports are properly zoned or the lifeguards are doing a good job.

Thomas Bell, of the MCS, defends the guide. He says: “The beaches we recommend are good from the MCS’s point of view and the purpose of the guide has always been foremost about promoting and campaigning for better bathing water quality.”

The truth is that there’s no single award scheme that tells you all you might want to know about a beach. However, below are details of the schemes that will be operating around our coast this summer and what they tell us.
2009 Beach Award Schemes

MCS Recommended Beach (www.goodbeachguide.co.uk). Gives details of water quality and sewage discharges at resort and rural beaches. You can read the full list on our website at telegraph.co.uk/travel.

Blue Flag (www.blueflag.org.uk). European-wide scheme indicating large, well-managed resort beaches where water reaches the highest guideline standard.

Quality Coast Award (www.qualitycoast.org). Launched by Keep Britain Tidy to pinpoint smaller resorts with good facilities, or larger resorts where water quality passes minimum required standards but not the higher levels demanded by Blue Flag.

Seaside Award (www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org). Run by Keep Scotland Beautiful and divided into Resort and Rural categories. Beaches must be well-managed and meet the lowest water standards.

Green Coast Award (www.keepwalestidy.org). Operated by Keep Wales Tidy and highlights the country’s quiet, less-developed beaches where water quality passes the highest EC water standards.

Read the original article from the Telegraph

Leave a comment

Filed under litter