Waters get ‘excellent’ quality mark

A total of 30 of the region’s 34 bathing waters have either an ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ water quality status.

Nineteen of the north east bathing waters have met the excellent standard, including Newbiggin North, Newbiggin South and Blyth South.

The method of assessing bathing water quality has changed from this year – until now 20 samples taken by the Environment Agency in any current year have been used to establish if bathing waters meet either guideline standard.

From this year, compliance is based on the current and previous three years of sample data (80 samples) taken by the Environment Agency between May and September, and is assessed against four new and stricter classifications of poor (failure to meet minimum requirement), sufficient, good and excellent.

Northumbrian Water’s Wastewater director, Richard Warneford, said: “Our £1bn of investment over the last two decades is reflected in today’s results, which are in stark contrast to those in 2000, when only four of the bathing waters in the north east achieved the old guideline standard.

“Looking after the environment is at the heart of what we do.

“We are extremely proud of the contribution we have made to protect and improve our region’s stunning coastline through both investment and partnership working and we appreciate the significant impact that beaches have on tourism, the economy and the leisure industry.

“Partnership working is particularly important as diffuse pollution, which includes run off from roads and agricultural land, can also have a negative impact on bathing water quality.