England

Beaches win water quality marks across South West

Bantham
Image caption Bantham went from a Basic Pass to being Recommended in 2010

The number of Devon and Cornwall beaches recommended by the Marine Conservation Society's (MCS) Good Beach Guide has risen by 4% in a year.

MCS recommended 127 beaches across the South West for excellent bathing water quality out of 193 sites.

Fifty-six Cornish beaches and 26 Devon beaches were listed as having the highest water quality.

Bathing water tests were conducted last Summer. In 2009, 122 sites in the South West were recommended.

Rain dependent

Rachel Wyatt, from MCS, said: "In the last three years there's been a shift in the water quality trends.

"From 2001 there was a steady improvement which peaked in 2006 when we recommended a record 505 beaches [in England].

"Since then, water quality has declined due to high volumes of rain carrying storm pollution from the sewer system, farmland and towns into the sea.

"The regional pattern to this rainfall means that some regions fared worse in this year's guide whereas others like the Channel Isles did markedly better."

Throughout the UK, 421 (55%) of the UK's 769 bathing beaches have been recommended for excellent water quality this year.

  • Devon beaches which moved up to Recommended: Bantham, Dawlish - Coryton Cove, Plymouth Hoe - East, Salcombe - South Sands, Sandy Bay, Shaldon, Thurlstone - North and Thurlstone - South.
  • Cornwall beaches which moved up to Recommended: Crantock, Downderry, Gorran Haven - Little Perhaver, Gorran Haven - Vault Beach, Kingsand Bay, Millendreath, Pentewan Sands, Polstreath, Porthcothan.
  • Devon beaches failed the minimum water quality standard: Combe Martin, Instow, Plymouth Hoe - East and West, Mothecombe and Exmouth.
  • Three Cornish beaches failed: Bude - Summerleaze, Crinnis Beach - Golf Links, and Par.

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