Sunderland’s beaches have been given the thumbs-up for the quality of their bathing water.
Seaburn and Roker beaches have both been rated as ‘excellent,’ the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) announced today.
Great bathing water relies on constant attention to detail and a willingness to continue looking for new ways to protect and improve our environment.Richard Warneford
All 34 of the region’s beaches, from Berwick to Saltburn, have reached the minimum European standard.
Twenty-seven have been rated ‘excellent,’ six as ‘good,’ and one - Spittall- as sufficient, compared with 19 excellent, 11 good, three sufficient and one poor last year.
Seaham and Crimdon beaches were also rated ‘excellent,’ and Marsden and Seaham Hall ‘good.’
The ratings are based on the current and previous four years of sample data (80 samples per beach, from 2013 to 2016 inclusive), taken by the Environment Agency between May and September each year.
Northumbrian Water, which has invested £1billion over 20 years in enhancing the quality of water on the region’s coastline, says the results do not mean there is cause for complacency.
Wastewater Director Richard Warneford said: “Our two decades of investment has yielded significant benefits, and we are confident that by maintaining focus upon the North East coastline we can continue to drive improvements and make the region’s coast a beacon for excellent bathing water.
“Investment in areas such as Seaham and Seaham Hall, where we have implemented improved storm water storage facilities, and Saltburn, with a £1.5million system upgrade, has paid off and this is reflected in today’s results, with Seaham moving from ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ and Saltburn rising from ‘good’ to ‘excellent.’
“All of this work helps to make our region’s beaches a fantastic place to visit, with high quality bathing water that adds to the experience of a day on the North East coast.
“There is more work like this to be done and we refuse to take today’s excellent results as an excuse to be complacent. Great bathing water relies on constant attention to detail and a willingness to continue looking for new ways to protect and improve our environment.
“Back in 2000, only four North East bathing waters achieved the standards that were in place at the time, so today shows a massive improvement that we and all of our partners can be proud of. We place the environment at the heart of what we do and are extremely proud of the investment and partnership working that we carry out to make our beaches a great place to visit.
“Taking into consideration factors that our outside of our control, including areas where there is a larger than normal volumes of bird waste, and the suspected offshore dumping of rubbish from ships, we feel very proud that 33 of our region’s bathing waters have achieved excellent or good standards.”
Environment Agency chief executive Sir James Bevan said: “Water quality at beaches has improved again this year, with all in the North East meeting European standards and 27 meeting the highest rating of Excellent.
“The Environment Agency has led successful work to protect people, tourism and the environment. We will continue to ensure bathing waters are maintained and improved further, so we need partners and the public to work with us to reduce pollution.
“We encourage all beach-goers to check water quality advice; this is available at every bathing beach and on the Bathing Water Data Explorer website.”