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Cornish Beaches Fail Clean Water Checks

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7:52am 27th March 2013

More Cornish beaches are failing basic clean water checks.

The Marine Conservation Society has downgraded East Looe, Seaton, Wherry Town at Penzance and Bude's Summerleaze.

It has released its annual Good Beach Guide and, overall, fewer Duchy shores were awarded top standards.

51 in the Duchy, including Polzeath, Watergate Bay and Sennen, were deemed to have excellent water quality, down from 68 last year.

The Marine Conservation Society is blaming the drop on last year's washout summer resulting in more bacteria and viruses ending up in bathing waters.

Andy Cummins, Campaigns Director at St Agnes-based charity Surfers Against Sewage, said: "It's easy to blame it on the rain, because no-one's responsible for the rain. However, if sewage infrastructure was properly maintained, if there was better land management practices from the farming community, then we'd have better water quality in the south west.

"Last year's results were the worst in a decade. They are getting worse.

What we need to do is accept that we do have wet summers, and plan accordingly and make sure bathers are protected. Because even when it's raining, we have a vast amount of people using the sea."

The Marine Conservation Society has called for improved monitoring of combined sewer overflows and action to reduce pollution from farms and populated areas.

Rachel Wyatt, Coastal Pollution Officer at the charity, said: "We have recommended fewer beaches in every English region and in Wales and Scotland. In England, the north west and south west were hit particularly hard, with the fewest number of recommended beaches for at least a decade.

"Action must be taken now. With stricter bathing water standards from 2015 and summers that appear to be getting wetter, the iconic image of people bathing off golden beaches could be at serious risk."

7:52am 27th March 2013

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