Beaches at Winchelsea and Camber get quality award

Camber beach, 23/4/11. ENGSNL00120110426084031
Camber beach, 23/4/11. ENGSNL00120110426084031

BATHING water at Winchelsea and Camber beaches exceeds minimum quality standards according to a newly published report from the Marine Conservation Society.

There has never been a better time to take a dip with a record number of UK bathing beaches receiving the marine charity’s top water quality award after the driest summer since 2003.

It has won the two beaches a place in the Good Beach Guide .

They both gained Recommended status. This means guideline bathing water standards were met, but with the addition that 100% of samples did not exceed 2,000 E.coli per 100 ml .

Hastings beaches and Bexhill Beach were handed mandatory status which is the minimum requirement.

MCS coastal pollution Officer, Rachel Wyatt, says she hopes the latest figures will be a boost to UK tourism after several previously wet summers which led to a drop in bathing water quality from pollution running into the sea from rural and urban areas and overloaded sewers.

She said: “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.

“Most people don’t realise what a big impact the weather can have on bathing water quality, but this has really been highlighted in the last few years. 2008, 2009 and 2012 were, according to the Met Office, amongst the wettest summers on record since 1910, and fewer UK bathing waters met minimum and higher water quality standards because of increased pollution running off rural and urban areas and overloaded sewers.”

She added: “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.

This will be around twice as stringent as the current minimum standard and means that some beaches will need to do more to make the grade in the future which could include reducing pollution from sewage discharges, agricultural run-off and urban diffuse pollution, fixing mis-connected sewers and putting in place more steps to help dog owners clean up after their pets.

Beaches which don’t 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.