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Lowestoft beaches make the society grade

PUBLISHED: 10:33 28 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:27 06 July 2010

LOWESTOFT'S beaches have once again received a top rating, just a week after being awarded the prestigious Blue Flag.

This time it is the Marine Conservation Society praising the town's main beaches north and south of Claremont Pier which each received to society's top "recommended" rating.

LOWESTOFT'S beaches have once again received a top rating, just a week after being awarded the prestigious Blue Flag.

This time it is the Marine Conservation Society praising the town's main beaches north and south of Claremont Pier which each received to society's top “recommended” rating.

However, there was not such good news along the coast at Southwold where the beaches at the Pier and Denes were given a “basic pass” meaning they only passed the EC statutory minimum for water quality.

In its annual Good Beach Guide, published today, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) recommends 84 bathing beaches in the south-east for excellent water quality, out of 129 tested.

The south east is still one of the best performing regions in the UK with 65pc of recommended beaches compared to 61pc last year. It is also one of only two regions across the country where no beaches failed the minimum legal water quality standard.

However, about a third of the beaches did not meet MCS standards for 'excellent' bathing water quality. MCS believes that the south east's high population density and extensive housing developments are at least partly to blame. Heavy rain carries urban pollution from coastal towns into the sea and combined sewer overflow pipes are periodically polluting some stretches of coast with a mix of storm water and raw sewage from flooded sewers.

Rachel Wyatt, of 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.”

Thomas Bell, MCS coastal pollution officer, said: “Our campaign is focused now on the degree to which combined sewer overflows are to blame for bathing water pollution and what can be done about it. We're talking about a vast network of sewer overflow pipes which carry raw sewage out of flooded sewer systems and deposit it in rivers and the sea.”

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