Sidmouth passes bathing water quality test

Beer and Sidmouth beaches pass Environment Agency testing

THIS year, 99 per cent of beaches in the South West have met bathing water quality test standards.

This is due to the �3 billion investment to upgrade sewage systems and reduce pollution including South West Waters’ Clean Sweep programme, writes Joy Ng.

Richard Cresswell, regional director of the Environment Agency (EA) in the South West said there has been a vast improvement on bathing water quality at beaches in the last two decades but cautioned there is still a lot more work to be done.

New stricter European standards are due to be implemented in 2015 and currently only 94 per cent of the beaches in the South West including Beer and Sidmouth beach pass these standards.

Eleven sites failed including Seaton in Cornwall, Combe Martin and Ilfracombe Capstone.

The EA is carrying out surveys on Seaton River to detect the sources of pollution and this will help the EA target problem areas to bring waters up to the new 2015 standards.

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The EA is also working with water companies, local farmers, beach managers and local authorities to reduce as much water pollution as possible.

This year South West Water introduced Beach Live ( to offer live and accurate information on bathing water quality to visitors.

Malcolm Bell, Head of Tourism at Visit Cornwall said visitor research showed clean beaches and clean bathing waters are essential to their enjoyment of the South West.

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