Blackpool bathing water improved – but other beaches failing

Blackpool beach
Blackpool beach

The quality of bathing water found at Blackpool’s beaches has improved, according to a new survey.

However, despite the improvements in the resort neighbouring Fleetwood and St Annes beaches are considered to be failing.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) today publishes its annual Good Beach Guide, compiling its ratings of the nation’s beaches.

Of 734 nationally, 73 per cent are classed as having as having ‘excellent’ water quality, meaning 100 per cent of samples did not exceed 2,000 E.coli per 100ml.

But on the Fylde coast the highest rating achieved was ‘mandatory’, meaning 95 per cent of samples did not exceed 2,000 E.coli per 100 ml.

Where Blackpool North, Blackpool South and Cleveleys beaches last year failed minimum requirements, they have this year improved to the mandatory rating.

Fleetwood and St Annes, are among the 14 areas nationally failing to reach minimum water quality standards.

The Fylde coast’s beaches at Bispham, Blackpool and St Annes North continue to be rated as mandatory, meaning they hit the minimum water quality, as they did in 2013.

Coun Fred Jackson, Blackpool Council cabinet member for urban regeneration, said water quality in Blackpool is the best it has been for years.

He said: “It’s great news that Blackpool’s beaches continue to improve and we’re pleased with how far we’ve come.”

Now council bosses and environmental groups have told of their work to improve water quality through the Turning Tide partnerships.

All three borough councils, Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, are part of this, along with the Environment Agency 
and United Utilities.

This work includes a storm storage tank being built at Poulton to reduce discharges into the Wyre Estuary as well as storm storage at Fleetwood waste water treatment works and Anchorsholme.

Sewerage arrangements at large caravan and chalet parks along the Wyre Estuary are also being investigated at as well as looking at farming areas close to bathing waters.

A spokesman for Fylde Council said St Annes beach fell victim to its geography being located at the estuary of the River Ribble which can carry waste down from Blackburn and Preston after heavy rainfall.

The spokesman added: “We have the effects of agricultural land and water treatment plants further up the Ribble, when it rains hard animal droppings and overflow from the plants get into the river which can have an adverse effect on the water quality here.”

Failing tests now means beaches risk having to have warning signs displayed advising against bathing in the sea from 2016.

The Turning Tides partnership is now urging residents to do their bit by clearing up dog foul and litter and not pour fats and oils down drains.