Coastal water-quality concerns

Councils say more testing by the Environment Agency (EA) is needed to allow greater recreational use of coastal waters, and more detailed analysis would help them know what action to take to improve water quality.

A survey by the SIG found that 70 per cent of coastal councils reported loss of tourism because deteriorating water quality – caused by sewage, farming run-offs and waste – was deterring visitors. Almost 90 per cent felt there was not enough water-quality testing in coastal waters, and more than 45 per cent said the reason for a decline in bathing water classification ratings was unknown. 

The LGA Coastal SIG is calling for an independent review of water companies, the removal of self-monitoring, changes to the monitoring programme, a review of pollution risk forecasting, and appropriate resourcing of the EA to enable it to deal with the issue.

“Coastal councils have long recognised the impact poor water quality can have on local communities, tourism and the shellfish industry,” said Cllr Sandra Squire, the SIG’s Member Champion for Coastal Water Quality and Cabinet Member for Environmental and Coastal at Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk. 

“This report highlights that poor bathing water quality affects councils around the country and shows how it is now critical that water pollution is taken seriously as a national problem, with steps taken to improve all of our coastal waters as an urgent priority.”


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