TAUNTON Town Council is at work to support Friends of French Weir’s application for Designated Bathing Water Status (DBWS) for the River Tone.

Town councillors recently resolved to write a letter to support the group which is looking to achieve DBWS for the area by the river steps at COACH in French Weir.

It was considered that without town council support as landowner, the application may not be successful.

It was also resolved that the town council would now maintain the steps, accessing the River Tone, behind the COACH building.

Whilst the steps were installed by COACH, it falls to Taunton Town Council as the landowner to carry out regular safety checks and carry out maintenance.

DBWS means that the Environment Agency (EA) makes regular checks on the bacterial levels in the water, between May and September, and advertises them, allowing potential swimmers to make informed decisions.

It also means that the EA will investigate the sources of pollution to identify measures that Wessex Water would be required to undertake.

Cllr Caroline Ellis, who is also part of the Friends of French Weir group, said the group cannot apply without the town council’s help and added that “the cost is minimum and benefits are huge”.

She also said: “It is a fantastic natural asset. People are worried about the quality of water and they can make more informed decisions on getting in the water and clean up the river.

“We were delighted by the success of the Safe Swim Saturdays throughout September.

“It was wonderful to welcome so many new and experienced wild swimmers from across Taunton and the surrounding area, who felt reassured by the water testing at this popular bathing spot.

“Achieving DBWS will build on this success, putting French Weir on the map as a destination for healthy, outdoor recreation.”