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Friday, 22 May 2009

2009 UK Good Beach Guide- Water quality plummets

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) today announces a 16.5% drop in the number of UK bathing beaches recommended for excellent water quality in its annual Good Beach Guide (, compared to last year. In total, 370 (47.5%) UK beaches are ‘MCS Recommended’ this year out of 777 tested, compared to 444 last year. This is the biggest year-on-year fall in the guide’s 22 year history and the first time since 2002 that MCS has recommended less than half of Britain’s bathing beaches.

The latest bathing water tests, conducted from May to September 2008, coincided with the seventh wettest British summer on record. Beaches failing the minimum legal standard jumped almost 50% from 53 to 78. MCS blames this steep drop in water quality on a combination of flood water mixed with sewage gushing from combined sewer overflows and polluted storm water running off farm land and city streets into rivers and the sea.

Thomas Bell, MCS Coastal Pollution Officer, said: “Today’s results reflect last summer’s heavy rain which swept waterborne pollutants like raw sewage, petro-chemicals and farm waste into rivers and the sea. MCS is now recommending 25% fewer beaches than three years ago and we’re becoming concerned that the existing infrastructure for handling storm pollution may not be up to the job.”

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