Northern Ireland

Less than half of NI beaches pass swim test

Outlet pipe on beach
Image caption Across the UK, only the Isle of Man was worse than Northern Ireland.

Less than half of all beaches in Northern Ireland surveyed for this year's Good Beach Guide are recommended for swimming.

The water on three beaches - Ballyholme, Newcastle and Cranfield Bay - failed to meet even the basic standard.

The overall results were marginally better than last year with 10% more beaches being recommended.

Across the UK, only the Isle of Man was worse than Northern Ireland.

To be recommended by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) which produces the guide, the sea or bathing water washing the beach must be 20 times cleaner than the European guidelines.

It must also receive a 100% pass when tested for specific bacteria.

Rachel Wyatt, MCS coastal pollution officer, said: "From 2015 Europe's beaches will be classified using even stricter water quality standards due to a revised bathing water directive.

"But instead of viewing these new standards with dread, our coastal communities and NI Water should welcome them as an opportunity to attract more people to Northern Ireland's wonderful and varied seaside resorts."

Just 10 out of 24 beaches tested in Northern Ireland were recommended.

Northern Ireland's Recommended Beaches

Magilligan Strand at Benone

Magilligan Downhill

Portstewart Strand

Portrush West Strand,

Portrush East Strand

Portrush Whiterocks

Ballygally

Helens Bay

Murlough at Tyrella

Tyrella at Clough

Beaches that met Guidelines

Portballintrae (Salmon Rock)

Ballycastle

Waterfoot

Carnlough

Cranfield (Nicholsons Strand)

Ballywalter

Basic Pass

Castlerock

Brown's Bay

Crawfordsburn

Groomsport

Millisle Lagoon

Beaches that failed

Ballyhome

Newcastle

Cranfield Bay

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