Wyre beaches pass tough safety tests

Fleetwood beach has matched vital clean water limits set by law
Fleetwood beach has matched vital clean water limits set by law

IT’S double delight for Fleetwood and Cleveleys beaches!

Just weeks after being named among the best in Britain, they have both passed vital clean water limits set by European law.

However Blackpool Central and South, St Annes and St Annes North all failed to meet EEC standards and have been labelled “potential health hazards”.

Bispham, Cleveleys and Fleetwood all achieved a ‘Basic Pass’ ranking in the latest ratings revealed in the Good Beach Guide.

Fleetwood Coun Ronald Shewan said: “This is great news for Fleetwood and the people who use the beach.

“A lot of steps have been put in place to clean up the seas, tighter controls have been put in place in terms of the chemicals which go into the sea from industrial estates and waste from the treatment plant.

“We still have a big issue with the smells which come from the treatment plant however and this is a big concern for tourism to Fleetwood.

“United Utilities tell us £50m has been spent to combat smells but this has clearly not worked and needs looking at.”

In May Fleetwood and Jubilee Beach in Cleveleys were named among the best beaches in Britain. They each received a Quality Coast Award for cleanliness and high standards, which was hailed as boost for the town’s tourism fortunes.

While Blackpool and Fylde council chiefs claim their failures were “misleading”, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), which conducted the water study, is standing by its findings.

Society bosses say the standard of bathing water is improving overall but they have become concerned, as during the past three years, water quality has got worse. This year, only just over half (418 out of 769 tested) of UK bathing beaches are MCS Recommended.

A new – more stringent – Bathing Water Directive is being brought in from next year. All beaches are required to pass by 2015 and five failures in a row will see permanent signs advising against bathing posted at the beach.

Both Blackpool and Fylde councils are being urged to take the problem seriously by Dr Robert Keirle, the MCS Pollution Programme Manager, who is concerned diluted sewage is pouring into the resorts’ waters during periods of heavy rain from Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs).

The testing is carried out by the Environment Agency which confirmed “complex issues” affected water quality with problems caused by water running off roads, pavements and local farmland.