Beaches fail tests... again

St Annes beach, which failed bathing water tests three times last year, has been given an overall fail by the Good Beach Guide.
St Annes beach, which failed bathing water tests three times last year, has been given an overall fail by the Good Beach Guide.

KEEP on bathing . . .

That’s the defiant message from Fylde Council after the borough’s beaches were in danger of becoming all washed up.

The race is on to stop two St Annes beaches being blacklisted after they were slammed by the Good Beach Guide.

If they don’t clean up their act, the bathing waters face being closed to visitors.

The Fylde Peninsula Water Management Group, which includes Fylde, Blackpool and Wyre councils, the Environment Agency and United Utilities, has been set up to tackle the problem.

A Fylde Council spokesman explained: “There are two beaches - St Annes and St Annes North. Both of them were subject to 20 water tests each last year between May and September. Each failed three times and two of the fails were in September which was a period of particularly heavy rainfall which washed surface water from roads, property and fields further up the estuary into the water. If it hadn’t been for the heavy rains we believe we wouldn’t have failed.

“But the beaches achieved the top score in twelve of the twenty tests so the water is safe and good for bathing but we have the challenges for the new standards in 2015 coming along which is why we have set up this group.”

Those behind the Good Beach Guide, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), warned there was plenty of work to be done.

From this summer all bathing waters will be ranked again under new European standards. Any failing to meet the grade over four years of testing will be declared a health hazard in 2015.

The 2011 figures are the second year in a row the water at St Annes has failed to make the grade.

Rachel Wyatt, the MSC’s coastal pollution officer, warned: “Beaches which do not meet the new minimum standard by the end of 2015 will have signs put up advising against swimming. If the beaches continue to fail, that advice will become permanent.”

The Fylde Council spokesman said: “Keep on bathing. We want visitors to keep coming. They are perfectly safe, but we are aware of the tougher standards. We want to protect the tourism industry. We don’t want to see any more failures in the future.”