Bathing boost for coast

St Annes beach
St Annes beach

More good news could be on the way for the Fylde coast after it was revealed bathing waters were given a clean bill of health.

After figures released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) showed Fleetwood, St Annes, St Annes North, Bispham, Blackpool South, Blackpool Central, Blackpool North and Cleveleys passed water quality testing, four areas could now be in line to pass next year’s guidelines.

Coun Sue Fazackerley

Coun Sue Fazackerley

Predictions suggest St Annes, St Annes North and Blackpool South will pass tests in 2015 after more than £160m was spent by United Utilities building storm water tunnels to reduce waste run-off.

Due to the large investment, Defra has agreed sampling results taken at the three bathing waters in 2012 and 2013 will not count towards the revised directive in 2015.

Bispham is expected to pass after it met recommended standards this year and in previous years.

The news is a big boost ahead of the introduction of next year’s tougher bathing water directives by the European Union which could see failing areas blacklisted, with signs put up on beaches advising bathers from going in the sea from 2016.

Coun Sue Fazackerley, Fylde Council interim leader, said: “This is excellent news from the perspective of both residents and tourists.

“Bathing quality is clearly higher than ever and that is great for our reputation with visitors. We look forward to another excellent summer in which visitors and residents can enjoy Fylde’s clean sea and beaches.”

The improved standards follow work carried out by The Turning Tides partnership, involving all three councils of Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, along with the Environment Agency and United Utilities. People clearing up dog mess and litter, as well as reducing the amount of oils and fats poured down their drains has helped, while a dry summer has stopped waste on farmland from running-off into rivers and the sea, which can have a negative effect on tests. Coun Fred Jackson, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for seawater quality, said improvements carried out by Turning Tides was having a “direct impact” on water quality.