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Bathing Water Excellent for Whitby, Poor for Scarborough

Bathing Water Excellent for Whitby, Poor for Scarborough

Published by the Yorkshire Coast Radio News Team at 3:54pm 14th November 2017. (Updated at 4:28pm 14th November 2017)

Scarborough's South Bay is just one of seven beaches in the UK to get a 'poor' rating in DEFRA's annual report on the state of the nations bathing waters, but Whitby is rated as 'Excellent'.

The pull together of national statistics released today focus on water samples taken in 2017 and shows that of the 413 bathing waters monitored this year 406 met the basic standard, 270 were excellent and 7 did not meet the minimum standard.

Yorkshire Coast Results

bathing waters

For every designated bathing water in England, the Environment Agency monitors Escherichia coli and intestinal enterococci in the water, throughout the bathing season. Values can vary; depending on the weather, pollution from agricultural and urban sources, storm water overflows, amongst other factors. The readings taken over the last four bathing seasons then determine the annual classification for that water. The 2017 results cover the period from 2014 to 2017. The classifications are:

  • Excellent – the highest, cleanest class
  • Good – generally good water quality
  • Sufficient – the water quality meets the minimum standard
  • Poor – the water quality has not met the minimum standard.

The figures for Scarborough's South Bay were published earlier in the year and have lead to a number of studies in to the problems with the water quality.

The Yorkshire Bathing Water Partnership, which includes Scarborough Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council have issued a statement in response to today's report.

As part of ongoing efforts to address poor water quality at Scarborough South Bay, a cutting-edge DNA profiling study on water samples was commissioned by the Environment Agency in 2016 to help identify the different sources of pollution.

Data from the study shows that bacterial pollution in South Bay is from a mixture of sources, including humans, seabirds and dogs. Bacteria from industrial effluent may have an occasional impact on water quality, but not a continuous one.

The data suggests that no single factor is responsible for lowering the bathing water quality and that a number of different factors must be tackled to improve water quality.

The Yorkshire Bathing Water Partnership remains fully committed to ensuring that the bathing water quality at Scarborough South Bay improves significantly in the future.
The organisations within the partnership are now using the data in the report as a basis for an action plan aimed at driving forward improvements and achieving real differences across Scarborough for the benefit of the local community and the many thousands of people that visit every year.

Actions already identified include a multi-agency initiative between The Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and Scarborough Borough Council to work with harbour staff and users to improve facilities for waste disposal at Scarborough harbour, to link in with existing council initiatives aimed at reducing the impact of scavenging seabirds and to reinforce beach dog bans with partner organisations and the public.

Residents and visitors are also urged to help maintain and improve bathing water quality by following some simple steps such as disposing of litter properly, picking up after their dogs and not feeding seabirds. Businesses and households can also ensure they don’t contribute to pollution on beaches by not pouring fats down drains and not flushing wet wipes.



IN-DEPTH : South Bay pollution is waste from humans, seabirds and dogs

IN-DEPTH : Advice against bathing in Scarborough's South Bay

IN-DEPTH : Three 'Spikes' Led To Scarborough South Bay Poor Quality Water




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