Sun, sea and banned: 46 'health hazard' beaches warned to clean up or face bar on swimming
Last updated at 10:31 AM on 26th May 2011
- Blackpool rated as worst beach in the UK
Forty-six beaches have been labelled potential health hazards in a list of shame which includes some of Britain’s best-known seaside locations.
No-swimming signs may have to be erected under European rules unless they are cleaned up.
Sewage discharged into the sea is generating dangerous levels of bacteria and viruses, according to the Marine Conservation Society.
Scroll down for the full list of beaches
Warning: Blackpool's beaches fared badly in the survey - but the town's council is adamant its bathing water is safe
The campaign group’s warning will alarm tourist chiefs in the areas identified – which represent 6 per cent of the 758 beaches surveyed – because it will drive families elsewhere. However, water quality around the coast is getting better generally.
The number of beaches recommended for excellent bathing water – 461 – is at the third highest level in the 24 years of the MCS Good Beach Guide.
But improvements are failing to keep up with the fact that the benchmark of acceptable bathing water quality is being raised.
The MCS explained that EU rules from 2015 will require the health warning signs on dirty beaches.
A spokesman said: ‘Forty-six UK beaches have failed to meet even the basic standards set 35 years ago in European law. These ... are a potential health hazard to beachgoers and could see swimming banned on them after 2015.’
Monitoring for the new EU standards begins next year.
If a beach consistently fails to meet its standards between then and 2015, signs will advise bathers not to enter the water. Robert Keirle, MCS pollution programme manager, said there is particular concern about the amount of diluted sewage flowing into coastal waters from so-called combined sewer overflows.
These act as emergency outlets for overloaded sewage systems during heavy rainfall. However, they can discharge at other times as well. Mr Keirle said there are 22,000 CSOs in the UK, but just a quarter are monitored.
‘MCS wants all pipes mapped and monitored, and for the public to be told ... when, and for how long, the sewage is flowing,’ he said.
‘Mapping costs relatively little yet it could make the difference between an enjoyable trip to the beach or one that ends up in hospital with ear, nose and throat infections or stomach upsets.’
Blackpool Council is adamant its water is safe, and said test results were affected by last year’s ‘promenade regeneration’ programme.
‘The water quality has improved significantly over the last ten years. Unfortunately the bar that we are measured against has also risen,’ a spokesman added.
ALL THE BEACHES THAT POSE A HEALTH HAZARD ACCORDING TO THE MARINE CONSERVATION SOCIETY
Blackpool Central, Lancashire
Blackpool South, Lancashire
St. Annes North, Lancashire
St. Annes, Lancashire
Morecambe (Opposite West End Road), Lancashire
Heysham Sands, Lancashire
Heysham (Half Moon Bay), Lancashire
Walney Island (Sandy Gap), Cumbria
Staithes, North Yorkshire,
Looe East, Cornwall
Mothecombe (Meadowsfoot & Coastguards), Devon
Lyme Regis (Church Beach), Dorset
Aberdaron Beach, Gwynedd
Ynyslas - Northern Groyne (Sea), Ceredigion
Ynyslas - Twyni Bach (Estuary), Ceredigion
Llanon (Slipway), Ceredigion
New Quay (North Beach), Ceredigion
Ogmore (West), Vale of Glamorgan
Barry (Watch House Bay), Vale of Glamorgan
Lower Largo, Fife
St Andrews (East Sands), Fife
Lossiemouth, East Moray
Irvine - Gailes (New Town), North Ayrshire
Ayr (South), South Ayrshire
Heads of Ayr, South Ayrshire
Cranfield Bay Down
Isle of Man
Gansey Bay (Bay Ny Carrickey)
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