Water quality dip at county beach recorded in guide

Seaton Sluice beach which has failed a quality test.
Seaton Sluice beach which has failed a quality test.
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SEATON Sluice beach has failed to achieve recommended levels of water cleanliness in the latest Good Beach Guide, produced the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

Every summer, water quality is assessed at UK beaches which have been designated as bathing waters.

Samples are usually taken once a week and tested for bacteria, which indicate the presence of pollution from sewage and animal waste.

In last year’s guide, Seaton Sluice was recommended for its excellent bathing water quality.

This year, however, the popular seaside location failed to meet the charity’s minimum water quality standard.

Blyth Beach South and Druridge Bay North also slipped from a previous recommended ranking last year to mandatory this time around.

And the charity has blamed relentless rain and flooding in many parts of the country over the past 12 months, leading to an increase in the amount of bacteria and viruses ending up in the bathing waters.

MCS coastal pollution officer Rachel Wyatt said: “We have recommended fewer beaches in every English region and in Wales and Scotland.

“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.”

It is not all bad news, however, as Druridge Bay South and Newbiggin South and North all managed to maintain their recommended status.

A spokesperson for Northumberland County Council said: “It is disappointing that there were two poor sample results at these beaches, however, they coincided with two periods of very heavy rainfall, which is known to cause pollution to bathing water.

“We are pleased that the majority of Northumberland bathing beaches met required standards in 2012 and we will continue to work with partners at the Environment Agency to monitor water quality and work in other ways, in the hope that the overall quality of these beaches will return to good next year.”