Bathing water compliance plummets during wet summer

Almost unprecedented heavy rainfall this summer has hit bathing water quality, with south-west beaches suffering in particular

Thirty-five out of 610 UK beaches failed to meet EU Bathing Water Directive targets in 2012, results published by the environment department (DEFRA) show. Most were in England, with south-west coastal resorts particularly affected.

DEFRA and the Environment Agency blamed the failures on urban and rural pollution, such as manure and sewage, entering waterways during the second wettest summer on record. This caused the number of beaches failing the directive’s mandatory microbiological standards to more than double, from 14 in 2011 to 35 (ENDS Report, November 2011).

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