It follows the water quality off Spittal Beach, Berwick, being classified by Defra as ‘poor’ for 2016, due to a tightening of the standards that came into effect this year.
The reason is due to new European regulations, meaning the quality of bathing water now being assessed over a four year period – which unfortunately includes poor water quality that occurred at Spittal Beach during a very wet summer four years ago in 2012.
Despite this being viewed as an ‘abnormal’ result and the water quality being acceptable in each of the past three years, Northumberland County Council still has to display a warning sign to advise the public against bathing due to the poor water quality.
Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services, said: “We are justifiably proud of our fantastic beaches and do all we can to keep them clean and tidy and attractive to both residents and visitors.
“While this classification is disappointing, it’s important we stress the water quality has been OK at Spittal Beach for the past three years and we have regular water quality checks during the bathing season.
“We also have a forecasting system in place to alert users to any occasions when poorer water quality might be predicted, for example as a result of periods of high rainfall causing run-off from agricultural land along the River Tweed.
“The actual degree of risk in respect of bathing has not changed over recent years and remains low.”
Of Northumberland’s 12 other bathing beaches, 11 are classed as ‘excellent’ and one is ‘good’