Mixed joy for Lowestoft and Southwold beach survey

EFFORTS to promote Lowestoft as a family holiday destination were given a major boost this week when the town's beaches were given a national seal of approval for the second year running.

But there was disappointment in Southwold as its beaches failed to maintain their 'recommended' status in the Marine Conservation Society's (MSC) Good Beach Guide, which assesses the water quality around the UK coast.

In Lowestoft, the beaches north and south of Claremont Pier were both recommended

Speaking about the Lowestoft beaches, a spokesman for Waveney District Council said: 'We are delighted that our wonderful beaches continue to get recognition for their excellent water quality.'

He added: 'Waveney takes great pride in having a number of beaches which attract thousands of happy visitors and this kind of survey reminds us all what great places they are to come to.'

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In Southwold, The Pier and The Denes beaches were both classed as 'mandatory', the legal minimum standard.

Heavy summer rain is thought to have had an impact, by causing polluted surface water to run off into the sea.

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Southwold's mayor of John Windell was disappointed at the downgrading. He said the results seemed to depend on when the beaches were tested as in sunny, dry weather the sea would not be affected by run-off water.

He also felt Southwold lost out as it was on large estuary surrounded by farmland which contributed to rain and surface water flowing into the North Sea. He said: 'I'm disappointed and I feel it is all very random. It is all very weather-dependent really. If they (the MCS) had come this week we would have failed because of all the rain.'

He added: ' We have got a beautiful beach here and a beautiful pier and lovely beach huts and a nice seafront.'

The MSC tests the water quality every summer at popular UK beaches which have been designated as bathing waters under the European Bathing Water Directive. Samples are taken once a week and tested for bacteria, which indicate the amount of pollution from sewage and animal waste.

At the end of the bathing season, beaches must meet the legal minimum 'mandatory' standard.

This year, it 'recommended' 516 out of 754 (68pc) UK bathing beaches tested – eight pc up on last year.

? The MCS has organised a 'big beach clean-up' at Pakefield next Friday, May 11, to stop ropes, fishing nets and bottle tops polluting the beach and sea. Youngsters can also get involved with free beach activity packs and taking part in rock pool rambling. For more information about the event, visit www.mscuk.org/foreverfish

To find out more about the guide, visit www.goodbeachguide.co.uk

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