Sea in Seaford and Saltdean is top quality water for swimming, say Environment Agency

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SEA WATER in Seaford and Saltdean has been recognised as high quality by the Environment Agency.

The coastal towns beat beaches in Brighton which were only graded as satisfactory.

Profiles of the beaches were published online together with maps, photos, potential sources of pollution and what is being done combat it.

The sea at Saltdean and Seaford was described as typically achieving a high quality. Water at Newhaven’s West Beach was not tested.

Beaches along Brighton’s seafront, including those in Hove, the West Pier and Kemp Town, were rated minimum.

This means they only met the minimum standards for safe bathing water.

In Brighton central, surface water drains which discharge at various locations along the shore, can lead to a lower standard of water quality after rainfall.

Satisfactory means that at least 95 per cent of the samples met the mandatory standards of the European Council’s bathing water directive.

The Environment Agency published profiles detailing how clean some 500 bathing water sites were in England and Wales.

The website will provide the public with information to help decide about when and where to go swimming around the coast.

It also shows where sewage outfalls are, potential sources of pollution from agricultural land or badly-connected household pipes and how the beach has performed against bathing quality ratings over the last few years.

Last year all 96 bathing waters in the South East met the mandatory standards, which means that 100% compliance has been achieved five out of the last six years.

The tougher EU “guideline” standards were met at 83 of these beaches and bathing waters (79.68%).

The information provided in the new profiles is the first step taken by the Environment Agency to meet new European regulations, which will bring tougher water quality standards from 2015.

David Howarth, Environment Agency Regional Water Strategy Manager, said: “Our profiles provide key facts for the public on the cleanliness of bathing waters.

“They give the most comprehensive information yet, helping people make informed choices about when and where to bathe.”

Andy Cummings, Campaigns Director for Surfers Against Sewage, commented: “The new bathing water profiles are a significant step forward in the provision of public information about important coastal environments.

“These bathing water profiles will not make the water cleaner, but they will allow beach users to make more informed decisions about when is best to use the water and the information to know when it might be better to give it a miss due to pollution incidents.”

To find out more visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk/bathingwaters.