Beaches fail clean water tests after record rain

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THREE of Yorkshire’s beaches have failed to meet basic water quality standards following last summer’s record rainfall, a new guide published today reveals.

Sandsend has lost its recommendation in the Good Beach Guide after tests revealed its water’s hygiene levels fell below minimum EU standards last summer.

The same tests were also failed by Staithes and Bridlington South Cliff beaches, which had both met the basic clean water benchmark the previous year.

Seven other bathing spots in the region met only the minimum water quality standard – Fraisthorpe, Wilsthorpe, Flamborough South Landing, Filey, Scarborough South Bay, Robin Hood’s Bay and Bridlington South Beach.

Bridlington North Beach’s water was awarded the next grade up by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), which publishes the guide.

But only ten of the 21 beaches tested in the region won the top “recommended” award for their water quality in this year’s guide, compared with 17 last year.

They were: Withernsea, Tunstall, Hornsea, Skipsea, Danes Dyke at Flamborough, Reighton, Cayton Bay, Scarborough North Bay, Whitby and Runswick Bay.

Across the UK, 42 beaches failed to meet minimum EU levels last year, a rise of 17 on 2011’s figures, and only 403 of the 754 bathing spots assessed were recommended in this year’s guide, 113 fewer than the record number last year.

The MCS put the fall down to heavy rain and flooding washing pollution from towns, farms and sewers into the sea, leading to increased levels of bacteria and viruses, which can cause ear, nose and throat infections and gastroenteritis.

Calling for urgent action before stricter EU bathing water standards come into force in 2015, MCS coastal pollution officer Rachel Wyatt said: “There is no simple solution to sewage and animal waste reaching our seas. However if the water industry, communities and local authorities recognise there is a problem and begin to work together to find answers that would be a significant start.”