Some north Northumberland beaches have seen their clean-water ratings drop, which has been blamed on the wet summer.
One of the UK’s wettest summers on record has led to a worrying drop in the number of beaches around the country being recommended for their excellent bathing water quality in the annual Good Beach Guide, published online yesterday by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).
In north Northumberland, Druridge Bay South, Amble Links, Warkworth, Seahouses North and Bamburgh Castle all again received the highest ‘recommended’ rating for 2012.
However, others on our coastline have seen their ratings slip.
Beadnell dropped one rating from ‘recommended’ to ‘guideline’, while Druridge Bay North slipped two ratings to ‘mandatory’ – the MCS’s minimum standard.
Low Newton improved last year, moving up from ‘mandatory’ in 2011 to ‘guideline’.
Further to the south and the north in the county, the beaches didn’t fare so well, with both Spittal and Seaton Sluice registering ‘fails’.
MCS coastal pollution officer Rachel Wyatt said the latest results show that the charity’s call for improved monitoring of combined sewer overflows and action to reduce pollution from farms and populated areas is urgently needed.
“We have recommended fewer beaches in every English region and in Wales and Scotland,” she said.
“In England, the north west and south west were hit particularly hard, with the fewest number of recommended beaches for at least a decade.
“Action must be taken now. With stricter bathing water standards from 2015 and summers that appear to be getting wetter, the iconic image of people bathing off golden beaches could be at serious risk.
“There is no simple solution to sewage and animal waste reaching our seas.
“However, if the water industry, communities and local authorities recognise that there is a problem and begin to work together to find answers then that would be a significant start.”