England

Rain blamed for reduction in beach water quality

Beach generic
Image caption The Environment Agency monitored 516 bathing waters

Water quality at beaches across the north-east of England has fallen due to the amount of heavy rainfall, the Environment Agency has found.

Government test results show five beaches around the region failed to meet mandatory standards.

They were Spittal and Seaton Sluice in Northumberland, Seaham in County Durham and Seaton Carew North and Saltburn on Teesside.

The Environment Agency insisted long-term trends were improving.

Regional environmental planning manager Dominic Shepherd said: "It is also worth remembering that, while our samples were affected on some occasions by the exceptionally heavy rainfall, quality usually increases again within a short period after the heavy rainfall has passed."

The agency said it was working with water companies and councils to improve sewage and drainage infrastructure, and with farmers to reduce the impact caused by farmland drainage.

Steve Goldswain, cabinet member for community protection at redcar and Cleveland Council, said: "We are extremely disappointed by Saltburn's failure.

"Protecting public health and maintaining the town's reputation as a leading tourist attraction in the region are of paramount importance and we are committed to working in partnership with Northumbrian Water and the Environment Agency to ensure the water quality is as good as it possibly can be."

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