A record number of the UK’s beaches have been recommended as having excellent water quality in the latest Good Beach Guide compiled by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and released yesterday.
The consistently high water quality of hundreds of British beaches tested for the report is thought to be due partly to last year’s very dry summer, with the lack of rain reducing the amount of pollution washed down on to the shore. This meant that of 734 beaches tested during last summer, 538 (73 percent) were deemed to have excellent water, 135 more than the previous year. Only 14 of the beaches tested last summer failed to reach the minimum water quality standards, and North East and South East England, Scotland and Northern Ireland had no failures at all.
109 of 152 Welsh beaches tested, or 71.7 percent, had excellent water quality, which was an improvement of 11 beaches on the previous year’s figure. Four Welsh beaches failed to meet the minimum requirement, one less than last year.
In Scotland, 54 of 95 beaches tested (56.8 percent) were given an excellent water quality rating, which was 12 more than last year, and with no failures, all of Scotland’s beaches achieved minimum bathing water standards.
MCS Coastal Pollution Officer, Rachel Wyatt, said on the organisation’s website that she hopes the latest figures will be a boost to UK tourism after several previously wet summers led to a drop in bathing water quality from pollution running into the sea from rural and urban areas and overloaded sewers.
She added, ‘It’s great news that we are able to recommend more beaches than ever for excellent water quality and it shows just how good British beaches can be. The main challenge now is maintaining these standards, whatever the weather.’
By the end of the 2015 bathing season, all designated bathing waters must meet the new minimum ‘Sufficient’ standard due to the revised EU Bathing Water Directive. Beaches that do not meet the ‘Sufficient’ standard at the end of 2015 will have to display signs warning against bathing in the sea from the start of the bathing season in 2016.