By Elisabeth Edvardsen
Today, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has released its Good Beach Guide for 2011, and the bathing water quality at UK beaches has reached one of its highest levels in the last 25 years. Hurrah!
Having measured the water quality at beaches across all of the UK and Channel Islands – 782 sites in total – the MCS awarded 461 sites with its top “recommended” awards this year, which is 42 more than in 2010.
In 2011 many South West beaches have done well, with several sites in Cornwall, Devon and the Isle of Wight coming up trumps.
However, 46 beaches failed to meet the basic European standards which the Good Beach Guide uses as a measurement tool. The reason for this is that many areas that are hit by floods can still legally pump raw sewage out into the sea without very little monitoring – not great for those who like to swim or surf in the sea.
Places that failed to get on the good list this year include Blackpool’s south and central beaches, St Andrews’ east sands and church beach in Lyme Regis, Dorset.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Two Cornwall beaches – Bude’s Summerleaze and Par – that failed to pass in 2010, have now both achieved the recommended status ahead of this year’s beach season.