Rain hits bathing water quality
Ed FossWet weather is diluting the number of top quality bathing seas off the region's shores - because of storm water washing pollution into the sea.The latest Good Beach Guide has recommended 84 of the 129 shorelines it tested in south east as excellent.Ed Foss
Wet weather is diluting the number of top quality bathing seas off the region's shores - because of storm water washing pollution into the sea.
The latest Good Beach Guide has recommended 84 of the 129 shorelines it tested in south east as excellent.
In Norfolk a dozen of the 16 checked got top marks from the Marine Conservation Society for the highest water quality standard and good treatment of sewage discharges.
They were Caister Point, Cromer, Gorleston, Great Yarmouth (North, Pier and South), Heacham, Hemsby, Hunstanton main beach, Sea Palling, Snettisham and WellsNorfolk
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Sheringham got the next score down, with a 'guideline' mark meaning a good water quality standard.
Hunstanton beach, Old Hunstanton and Mundesley received a basic pass, which is a statutory minimum quality but not a fail.
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Guide spokesman Rachel Wyatt said: 'In the last three years there's been a shift in the water quality trend on our beaches.
'From 2001 there was a steady improvement which peaked in the Good Beach Guide of 2006 when we recommended a record 505 beaches.
'Since then, water quality has declined due to high volumes of rain carrying storm pollution from the sewer system, farmland and towns into the sea.'
The south east is still one of the best performing areas in the UK with 65pc of beaches recommended by the MCS compared to 61pc last year - which is believed to be due to the slightly lower rainfall in the region through summer 2009 compared to the previous year.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council cabinet member for tourism Graham Plant said the MCS recommendation for six of the borough's beaches was 'excellent news'.
His North Norfolk District Council counterpart Hilary Nelson said: 'It is a mixed bag but it is important to stress that all our beaches are safe and welcoming to the public.'
Around a third of the region's beaches did not meet standards for excellent bathing water, which has been put down partly to high population density and extensive housing developments.