Region’s beaches praised for water quality

IT is no secret that East Anglia’s beaches are among some of the best in the country, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

And now the golden sands of Suffolk and Essex have once again been recognised – but this time for the quality of their water.

The Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) Good Beach Guide 2010 includes a number from both counties.

In Suffolk, Lowestoft and Felixstowe have both been “recommended”, which means they have the highest water quality and good treatment of any continuous sewage discharges, while Southwold has achieved a “basic pass”, which means it meets the mandatory standard as set out by the European Commission.

In Essex, beaches at Brightlingsea, Clacton, Dovercourt, Frinton, Jaywick and Holland have all been “recommended”, while Walton and West Mersea have received a “basic pass”.

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Alex Paul, tourism manager at Choose Suffolk, said: “It’s great to have Suffolk’s beaches recognised by the Marine Conservation Society as they are one of the county’s most important assets and attract thousands of people to the area each year.

“Suffolk is fortunate to have a diverse range of beaches, from shingle and golden sand to wildlife-rich habitats that appeal to everyone from young families on holiday to walkers and wildlife enthusiasts.”

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Lisa Bone, strategic tourism manager at Essex County Council, added: “It is great Essex has been recognised for its quality beaches.

“The coast is one of the county’s biggest attractions, drawing in thousands of visitors each year helping to grow the economy.

“Visit Essex encourages good quality and value for money within the tourism industry, and this recognition for our beaches helps to make the county a leading destination offering a great experience for all to enjoy.”

The south east continues to be one of the best preforming regions in the UK – one of only two where none of the beaches tested failed the minimum legal water quality standard. The latest bathing water tests were conducted from May to September last year.

As a whole 421 – 55% – of the 769 bathing beaches tested have been recommended for excellent water quality – a drop from previous years.

Rachel Wyatt, from the MCS Good Beach Guide, said: “In the last three years there’s been a shift in the water quality trend on our beaches.

“From 2001 there was a steady improvement which peaked in the Good Beach Guide of 2006 when we recommended a record 505 beaches.

“Since then, water quality has declined due to high volumes of rain carrying storm pollution from the sewer system, farmland and towns into the sea.

“The regional pattern to this rainfall means that some regions such as North West England and Scotland faired worse in this year’s guide whereas others like the Channel Isles did markedly better.”

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