Two Cumbria beaches among dirtiest in the country

Allonby beach
Image caption Allonby beach failed to meet the minimum water quality standard

Two of Cumbria's beaches have some of the dirtiest water in the country, according to the Marine Conservation Society.

Allonby and Seascale failed to meet bathing water quality tests, the latest edition of the organisation's Good Beach Guide said.

Twelve county beaches were rated using Environment Agency data.

The society said pollution levels were affected by rainfall, sewage, livestock, birds and dog faeces.

Only St Bees and Silecroft were rated excellent for water quality.

The county's eight other beaches achieved minimum water quality, which means 95% of samples taken there did not exceed 2,000 E. coli bacteria per 100ml of sea water.

'Serious problems'

The society's Rachel Wyatt said: "We would like to see different land management to ensure things like slurry do not get washed into water courses.

"If there is urban pollution, [we would like] to have more sustainable urban drainage so lots of water doesn't get washed into our sewage systems and straight into our rivers."

Dave Harpley, of Cumbria Wildlife Trust, also blamed "marine waste" washed up from the Irish Sea.

He said: "These are some serious problems, particularly because a lot of them aren't solvable in the local area."

He warned the low water quality could affect tourism in Cumbria.

Nationally, a record 73% of beaches in the UK were found to have "excellent" water quality, according to the guide.

Only four other beaches in England failed to meet basic standards - Fleetwood and St Anne's in Lancashire, Thurstaston in Wirral and Instow at Devon.

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