Beaches maintain European’s top standards

King Edwards Bay
King Edwards Bay

Bathing waters off three beaches have been rated among the best in the country.

Whitley Bay, Tynemouth Longsands North, Tynemouth Longsands South, King Edward’s Bay have all been rated as having ‘excellent’ water quality status.

And Cullercoats Bay achieved ‘good’ standard in the latest ratings released by DEFRA today (Tuesday).

The water qualities along the north east coastline has been helped by Northumbrian Water investing £1bn over 20 years to enhance the quality of water.

But officials at the company say the results do not mean there is cause for complacency and are keen to maintain the European standards.

Northumbrian Water’s wastewater director, Richard Warneford, said: “Our two decades of investment has yielded significant benefits, and we are confident that by maintaining focus upon the north east coastline we can continue to drive improvements and make the region’s coast a beacon for excellent bathing water.

“All of this work helps to make our region’s beaches a fantastic place to visit, with high quality bathing water that adds to the experience of a day on the north east coast.

“There is more work like this to be done and we refuse to take today’s excellent results as an excuse to be complacent. Great bathing water relies on constant attention to detail and a willingness to continue looking for new ways to protect and improve our environment.

“Back in 2000, only four north east bathing waters achieved the standards that were in place at the time, so today shows a massive improvement that we and all of our partners can be proud of.

“We place the environment at the heart of what we do and are extremely proud of the investment and partnership working that we carry out to make our beaches a great place to visit.

“Taking into consideration factors that our outside of our control, including areas where there is a larger than normal volumes of bird waste, and the suspected offshore dumping of rubbish from ships, we feel very proud that 33 of our region’s bathing waters have achieved excellent or good standards.”

Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency, said: “Water quality at beaches has improved again this year, with 27 in the north east meeting the highest rating of Excellent.

“The Environment Agency has led successful work to protect people, tourism and the environment. We will continue to ensure bathing waters are maintained and improved further, so we need partners and the public to work with us to reduce pollution.

“We encourage all beach-goers to check water quality advice; this is available at every bathing beach and on the Bathing Water Data Explorer website.”