North Devon beaches make the grade for bathing water quality

Woolacombe's bathing water made the grade this year. Woolacombe's bathing water made the grade this year.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
9:29 AM

Beaches in North Devon set a high standard as last year’s dry weather sees ‘best ever’ results in Good Beach Guide.

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Instow was the only North Devon beach - and one of 14 nationally - to fail.Instow was the only North Devon beach - and one of 14 nationally - to fail.

NORTH Devon beaches have featured highly on this year’s Good Beach Guide, with last year’s dry weather resulting in more beaches ‘recommended’ than ever.

Woolacombe, Westward Ho! and Saunton all made the grade in the guide published by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), alongside Lynmouth, Combe Martin, Putsborough, and Hartland Quay.

Ilfracombe Hele and Tunnels Beach both were recommended, though Ilfracombe Wildersmouth beach only reached the mandatory standard.

Croyde beach slipped in standards this year – despite being recommended last year, this year it only reached ‘guideline’ standards.

Instow beach was the only beach to fail, for the second year in a row.

Nationally 73 per cent of UK beaches that were tested last summer were recommended by the MCS – 135 more than in 2013.

Only 14 beaches failed to reach the minimum water quality standards nationally.

Rachel Wyatt, MCS coastal pollution officer, said she hoped the latest figures would be a boost to UK tourism.

“It is great news that we are able to recommend more beaches than ever for excellent water quality and it shows just how good British beaches can be,” she said.

“The main challenge now is maintaining these standards, whatever the weather.

“This year more than 160 English and Welsh beaches featured in the Good beach Guide will be linked to the Environment Agency’s daily pollution forecast which will indicate when there may be an increased risk of pollution due to heavy rainfall.

“Visitors to the Good Beach Guide will now be able to see really up to date information.

“We’ve supported the development of forecast systems that provide information about when water quality is likely to be temporarily poor.

“But these predictions are no replacement for improvements and so water companies and local authorities must continue to improve sewerage infrastructure and reduce diffuse pollution so that eventually we will only need such warnings during and after exceptionally wet weather.”

The Good Beach Guide can be found at www.goodbeachguide.co.uk.

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