Page last updated at 15:46 GMT, Saturday, 23 May 2009 16:46 UK

Beaches fail standard for bathing

Doulgas Broadway beach
MCS said raw sewage and livestock waste has polluted the waters

Three Isle of Man beaches were too polluted to reach mandatory water quality standards for bathing.

Douglas Broadway, Garwick and Gansey Bay failed tests carried out by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

MCS said the island "lacked improvement", leading to only Derbyhaven, out of 18 beaches, being recommended for the Good Beach Guide.

The government said overhauling of the sewage system, started in 2006, had seen water quality improve.

'Improvements on-going'

Coastal pollution officer Thomas Bell, from MCS, said: "Part of the problem is raw sewage discharge coming out from parts of the island.

"Combine this with things like livestock, cattle and sheep, depositing waste on the land and that getting flushed into the sea when it rains hard. It causes a lot of water pollution."

A department of local government and environment spokesman said since the launch of the Integration and Recycling of the Island's Sewage (IRIS) scheme there have been improvements.

"When the scheme started 54% of the waters did not meet the mandatory requirements and now it has dropped to 27%," he said.

"Once IRIS is complete in 2015, on dry years, the water quality across the island should meet the mandatory requirements."

MCS's latest water tests were carried out between May and September 2008, coinciding with the wettest summer on the Isle of Man in 16 years.

The mandatory water quality standards are set by the European Commission's Bathing Water Directive.

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