The quality of the bathing water at three South West beaches – Teignmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Burnham-on-Sea will be discussed at public events in July.
With only two years to go until bathing waters need to meet much tougher standards under the new European Bathing Water Directive, the Environment Agency is organising a series of community events to highlight how everyone has a part to play in improving bathing water quality.
During July, the Environment Agency will organise the second set of these events at some of the beaches that might be impacted by the changes in the revised bathing waters directive.
On Monday, July 22, members of the public are invited along to a marquee on the Den by the seafront in Teignmouth between 10am until 4pm in an event, dubbed ‘Love Your Beach’, held in partnership with South West Water, Teignbridge District Council and The Teign Estuary Partnership during carnival week.
There will be badge making, face painting and colouring for children, and Teignbridge will have a 1970’s theme to show how much Teignmouth has changed.
On Saturday July 27 between 10am and 1pm a family event will be held on the seafront at Budleigh Salterton. The Environment Agency will be joined by working partners, South West Water, East Devon District Council, Clinton Devon Estates, Litter Free Coasts and Seas, Catchment Sensitive Farming and the Otter Valley Association.
Councillor George Gribble, Teignbridge District Council’s Executive Member for Communities, Recreation and Leisure, said:
‘We are really proud of all of our beaches in Teignbridge. The quality of their waters play a big part in bringing in tourists, supporting local trade and giving residents a great place to go in all weathers.
‘The event we are putting on will help people understand the new - and much tougher standards - under the new European Bathing Water Directive. Not only that but it will showcase how we can all do our bit to make sure we take action to ensure they meet those standards. We’ve made the day on the Den really fun with a ‘Love Your beach’ theme and loads to do for parents and children alike.
‘The Love Your Beach event is taking place during Teignmouth Carnival week so there is plenty more for people to see and do. We’d like to see as many people as possible to come and they can check out what else is going on in the town as well. It’s a great opportunity for a fun day out.’
On 28 July, the Agency moves to the Esplanade at Burnham-on-Sea, supported by Wessex Water, Catchment Sensitive Farming and Sedgemoor District Council. The event will take place during the annual ESCAPE day and the Stert Island Swim. There will be badge making for children and a chance to see how bathing waters are sampled.
The quality of our bathing waters and beaches is one of the attractions that bring in twenty three million tourists to the South West each year and therefore extremely important to the local economy.
There are 193 beaches in the South West monitored during the bathing water season and, of these, approximately 20 might fall short of these new tougher standards.
The Environment Agency is in the process of implementing the revised Bathing Water Directive, which will introduce higher standards from 2015.
The new directive will have four classification categories: Excellent (approximately twice as stringent as the current Guideline standard); Good (similar to the current Guideline); Sufficient (approximately twice as stringent as the current Mandatory standard) and Poor, for waters which do not comply with the Directive’s standards.
The Environment Agency welcomes the opportunity to work with other communities whose bathing waters have been identified as possibly not meeting the new standards.
‘Bathing water quality across the whole of the South West is extremely high but more needs to be done by water companies, businesses, farmers, local authorities and communities to help at risk bathing waters pass the new standards,’ said Jonathan Ponting, Bathing Water Project Manager for the Environment Agency in the South West.
‘Community organisations are joining us in organising these events which are being designed to inform people about how we sample bathing waters, explaining the possible sources of pollution and solutions, and the actions we would like people to take.’
The Environment Agency is already asking for people’s views on what they think the main issues are that affect the South West’s water environment and what should be done to improve and protect it. The ‘Challenges and Choices’ consultation starts on June 22 and runs for six months until December 22, and will outline what everyone needs to do to protect and improve the water environment.
People can see the consultation information on the Environment Agency website at the following link http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/research/planning/140090.aspx or e-mail southwestRBD@environment-agency.gov.uk.
View the South West Bathing Water Needs You video on You Tube at the following link:
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