Hope for improved rating at Cullercoats beach
The only beach in the North East deemed unsafe for swimming could be regraded in the coming weeks, council bosses are hoping.
Cullercoats beach was slapped with a ‘poor’ water quality rating by the Environment Agency (EA) last year, making it the only one of the region’s 34 bathing areas not classed as either good or excellent.
But North Tyneside Council bosses say they are hopeful of it securing an improved score when the 2019 report is released in November.
Water quality at Cullercoats has deteriorated over recent years, and an investigation was launched at the end of 2017 to identify the causes.
But swimmers are still advised not to go in the water until officials deem it sufficiently safe.
Coun Carl Johnson told a council meeting that almost all of the water samples collected at Cullercoats were healthy, but that “a small number of spikes” had lead to its poor classifications.
The cabinet member for environment and transport said the council had worked “really hard” over recent months to identify the cause of the problem and rectify it.
He added: “We want every beach in North Tyneside to have a Blue Flag. We hope that will be the case in November this year.”
Conservative councillor Ken Barrie, who represents Cullercoats, raised the issue and also asked why swimming was not advised at the beach but there were no restrictions on paddle boarding.
The council said earlier this year that tens of thousands of pounds had been spent to try and find solutions after the bay fell short of water quality standards in 2018.
Actions taken as part of their investigation alongside the EA and Northumbrian Water have included DNA analysis to identify sources of pollution and repairs to damaged pipes.
Beaches at King Edwards Bay, Tynemouth Longsands, and Whitley Bay all have Blue Flag status.
But the bathing water quality at Cullercoats dropped progressively from ‘good’ in 2016 to ‘sufficient’ in 2017 and ‘poor’ in 2018.
Environment Agency chiefs said that the deterioration was thought to be caused by “an impact of predominantly human source”.