Water quality on Sussex beaches has dropped according to the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Beach Guide published Wednesday.
Across Sussex two beaches improved, eight dropped in rating and 18 stayed the same. No Sussex beaches failed.
The relentless rain and flooding in many parts of the country was blamed on increase in the amount of bacteria and viruses ending up in bathing waters, according to the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) which carried out the latest survey of beaches across the country.
This type of pollution can originate from a variety of sources such as agricultural and urban run-off, storm waters, misconnected plumbing, septic tanks and dog faeces, according to the MCS website.
Sewage and animal waste is full of viruses and bacteria and most water users won’t be aware that this type of pollution can increase the chance of them going home with an ear, nose or throat infection, or even gastroenteritis, said a MCA spokesman.
MCS coastal pollution officer, Rachel Wyatt, said the latest results showed that the charity’s call for improved monitoring of combined sewer overflows and action to reduce pollution from farms and populated areas is urgently needed.
She said: “We have recommended fewer beaches in every English region and in Wales and Scotland. In England, the north west and south west were hit particularly hard, with the fewest number of recommended beaches for at least a decade. Action must be taken now. With stricter bathing water standards from 2015 ad summers that appear to be getting wetter, the iconic image of people bathing off golden beaches could be at serious risk.
The Society classifies water quality in four categories: ‘Recommended’ (standard for excellent water quality;) ‘Guideline’ (bathing water standards were met;) ‘Mandatory’ (minimum bathing water standards were met;) and ‘Fail’ (did not meet water quality standards.)
Across East Sussex the results were:
Hove (Recommended this year and last;)
Kemptown (Recommended this year and last;)
Saltdean (one of the improvers - it achieved mandatory last year and Recommended this year;)
Seaford (Recommended this year and last;)
Birling Gap (Recommended this year and last;)
Eastbourne (Recommended this year and last;)
Pevensey Bay (Guideline last year, Mandatory this year;)
Norman’s Bay (Recommended this year and last;)
Cooden Beach (Recommended this year and last)
Bexhill (Mandatory this year and last.) To obtain a ‘Recommended’ mark, 100 per cent of samples taken did not exceed 2,000 Ecoli per 100ml and sewage discharges are appropriately treated.
For’ Guideline,’ 80 per cent of samples did not exceed 100 Ecoli per 100lm and 90% did not exceed 100 intestinal enterococci per 100ml; for ‘Mandatory,’ 95% of samples did not exceed 2,000 E.coli per 100 ml and a’ Fail’ means the sample did not meet the minimum water quality standard.
Standards are based on the European Bathing Water Directive but are not the same as those published by the UK Government. The Good Beach Guide is the only independent guide to UK bathing water quality, reporting on mare beaches than any other organisation.