Beaches achieve bathing standard

Somerset County Gazette: Blue Anchor West Beach passed the bathing water standard for this year. PHOTO: Steve Guscott Blue Anchor West Beach passed the bathing water standard for this year. PHOTO: Steve Guscott

BEACHES across Somerset have all passed the bathing water standards this year according to the Marine Conservation Society’s ‘Good Beach Guide’.

Eight out of 12 beaches tested across the county all received the top standard for excellent water quality.

The standards are:

  • Recommended – which means a beach has excellent water quality;
  •  Guideline – higher water quality;
  •  Mandatory – minimum water quality;
  •  Fail – failed mandatory bathing water standard.

Dunster South East, Minehead Terminus and Porlock Weir all received recommended while Blue Anchor West and Dunster North West received mandatory.

From 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.

The directive will be around twice as stringent as the current minimum standard and means some beaches will need to do more to make the grade in the future.

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.

Rachel Wyatt, the coastal pollution officer for the Marine Conservation Society, said: “We use the same standard as the EU but there are a few differences as we use extra beaches which don’t have designated bathing waters and we have a few of our own tests we carry out.

“From next year beaches which don’t make the grade will have signs advising people not to swim in the waters.

“I think it could have a bit of an impact on tourism perhaps, however not everyone goes to the beach to go in the water, there are other things to do.

“Everyone has a responsibility to make sure the waters are as clean as possible, even beachgoers.”

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