Beach to be stripped of bathing status after water consistently rated as poor

Water near Clacton Pier has again be deemed poor by the Environment Agency Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

Water near Clacton Pier has again be deemed poor by the Environment Agency Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE - Credit: Andrew Partridge

A beach which has failed to meet water quality standards on a number of occasions is to be stripped of its bathing status.

Swimmers will now be told to avoid the area known as Groyne 41, which sits close to the pier in Clacton after the water quality there was deemed 'poor' in official statistics from the Environment Agency.

The agency measured water quality at 420 bathing waters across England, and found that 413 met at least the minimum standard expected.

To reach its conclusion the Environment Agency monitored the levels of E. coli and intestinal enterococci, which are both organisms found in human faeces.

The beach will now be de-designated as a bathing area, meaning that signs in and around the beach will be amended to warn those using it not to swim in the area but to go elsewhere down the beach.

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Mike Carran, head of sport and leisure at Tendring District Council said:"While disappointing that Groyne 41 has again rated as 'poor', this is not surprising - despite leading experts have been investigating this over a long of period of time, and the source is still to be identified.

"Having this small section of beach de-designated means we can move on and focus on keeping our top-notch beaches the best they can be."

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Despite the disappointing results at Groyne 41, Mr Carran said he was pleased with results elsewhere in the district.

"We work hard to maintain high quality beaches for Tendring residents and visitors to our district to enjoy," said Mr Carran.

"These are fantastic results, in particular at Walton and east Clacton which are now consistently 'excellent', opening the door for possible Blue Flag applications for these beaches."

In Suffolk, the waters in Felixstowe were rated as 'excellent', while the waters at Lowestoft and Southwold Pier were rated good.

Water at the Southwold Denes was rated as sufficient.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: "We have been working hard with local partners over the years to improve water quality at Clacton (Groyne 41) beach.

"There are two further beaches in Clacton which are classified as having an 'Excellent' and 'Good' water quality.

"If a bathing water fails to meet the minimum standard of Sufficient for five consecutive years, permanent advice against bathing will be given.

"This will be posted on the Environment Agency's website and on a sign at the beach.

"While a bathing water remains designated, the Environment Agency will continue to take all appropriate measures to investigate sources of pollution and work with partners to put action plans in place."

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