Local bathing spots listed in good beach guide

Six North Devon beaches make the grade in annual water quality guide.

SIX North Devon beaches have been recommended in a national beach guide highlighting ‘excellent’ water quality.

The local bathing spots feature in the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) 2012 Good Beach Guide, which uses water quality and sewage treatment data to award beaches with a gold standard.

Ilfracombe’s Tunnels Beach; Barricane Bay at Woolacombe; Putsborough; Saunton Sands; Westward Ho!; and Hartland Quay were highlighted among 516 UK bathing beaches.

The South West was one of the best performing regions, with 154 out of 193 beaches meeting the MCS criteria.

MCS coastal pollution officer, Rachel Wyatt, said the latest figures will be a boost to UK tourism, but warned of tougher guidelines to come.

“This is a milestone for coastal resorts to be proud of and shows the impact of the guide over the last 25 years.

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“However, this summer will see the first samples taken under the revised Bathing Water Directive which will replace the current standards with far more stringent ones from 2015.

“It’s really important that local authorities, water companies and environmental regulators don’t become complacent and take their collective feet off the pedal of continued environmental improvements.

“If that happens we could see a drop in the number of beaches recommended by us in the future, which could pose a risk to the great reputation that British beaches have.”

MCS is urging bathers and beachgoers to go online and check the listings, in order to maintain pressure on water companies, environmental regulators and local councils to tackle sources of bathing water pollution and to vote with their feet by bathing at recommended beaches.

View this year’s guide at www.goodbeachguide.co.uk

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