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Thursday, 3 May, 2001, 23:17 GMT 00:17 UK
The not-so-good beach guide
Scotland Northern Ireland North West North East Wales East Anglia South West South East Scotland North East Northern Ireland North West East Anglia Wales South East South West

Click on the map above to find out which beaches in your region have failed to reach minimum EU water quality standards.

Each year the Marine Conservation Society produces a guide to the water quality of the UK's beaches. This year the environment charity says there are more beaches than ever passing its stringent water quality tests. It has recommended a record 275 beaches, 60 more than last year.

But the the MCS also found that 90 beaches around the UK have failed to reach minimum EU water quality standards - 10 more than last year.

The charity says these beaches are contaminated with sewage.

Launching the beach guide Tomorrow's World presenter Philippa Forrester said: "The Good Beach Guide allows the public to make an informed choice of where to swim safely, taking a pro-active approach to protecting themselves and their families from the hazard of sewage pollution."

"It is important to know which beaches to avoid as children are most at risk from sewage-related illnesses."

The full list of recommended beaches is given on the Good Beach Guide website - but below BBC News Online lists the beaches which have given cause for concern.


Twelve beaches have failed the minimum EU water quality standard in this popular holiday region. But the number of beaches which have not reached the standard in 2001 is five fewer than last year.

A record number of beaches have been awarded recommended status in the south west this year, 113 out of the 210 tested.

1. Doniford, Somerset
2. Watchet, Somerset
3. Dunster - North West, Somerset
4. Lynmouth, Devon
5. Ilfracombe - Capstone beach, Devon
6. Croyde Bay, Devon
7. Instow, Devon
8. Polzeath, Cornwall
9. Cawsand Bay, Cornwall
10. Kingsand Bay, Cornwall
11. Lyme Regis, Church beach, Dorset
12. Seatown, Dorset


Channel Islands

Twenty-five beaches in the Channel Islands were sampled and 11 have been recommended by the MCS, compared to 14 last year. No beaches failed to reach the minimum standard.

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In the South East area, which includes East Anglia, four beaches failed the EU minimum water quality standard. This compares to seven beaches which failed last year.

Overall 49 out of the 139 beaches sampled have been recommended in 2001, an increase of 14 since last year. The society says improvements in the water quality of the Isle of Wight's beaches have raised the figures for the region.

1. Totland, Isle of Wight
2. Ryde - East, Isle of Wight
3. Selsey - Hillfield Rd, West Sussex
4. Hunstanton - boat ramp, Norfolk


In the north east the number of beaches which have failed the minimum EU water quality standard outnumber the number of beaches that have been given recommended status by the MCS. Nine of the 67 beaches tested have been recommended, while 10 have failed.

This figure is double the number of beaches which failed the previous year. The MCS says this could be due to the heavy rain last year which caused an increase in the amount of storm discharges and pollution collecting on the beaches.

1. Mablethorpe town, Lincolnshire
2. Scarborough South No 2, North Yorkshire
3. Staithes, North Yorkshire
4. Sea at Marske Sands, Redcar and Cleveland
5. Seaham Hall, Durham
6. Seaham Beach, Durham
7. City of Sunderland - East Ryhope Beach, Sunderland
8. Marsden, South Tyneside
9. Tynemouth, Long Sands North, North Tyneside
10. Spittal, Northumberland

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Six of the 34 beaches tested in this region failed the minimum EU water quality standards. This is an improvement on the previous year when 11 were considered too polluted.

1. Newbiggin, Cumbria
2. Bardsea, Cumbria
3. Morecombe - South, Lancashire
4. Heysham - Half Moon Bay, Lancashire
6. Bispham, Blackpool
7. St Anne's - North, Lancashire



Out of a total of 15 beaches tested - six failed to reach the minimum standard - and increase of two since last year. None of the beaches have been awarded recommended status.

1. Douglas - Broadway, Isle of Man
2. Ramsay, Isle of Man
3. Gansey Bay - nr Barrickey, Isle of Man
4. Kirk Michael, Isle of Man
5. Port Soderick, Isle of Man
6. Jurby, Isle of Man

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In Scotland 25 beaches have failed to reach minimum EU water quality standards - this is a slight increase over the 24 that failed the previous year. Out of the 111 beaches in Scotland that were tested, 20 have gained "recommended" status - one more than last year.

1. Eyemouth, The Borders
2. Longniddry, East Lothian
3.Portobello, West Kings Road, Edinburgh
4. Cramond, City of Edinburgh
5. Dalgety, Fife
6. Kinghorn Harbour, Fife
7. Kirkcaldy Seafield, Fife
8. Kirkcaldy Linktown, Fife
9. St Cyrus, Aberdeenshire
10. Newburgh, Aberdeenshire
11. Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire
12. Dunnet Bay- Castlehill, Highland
13. Ettrick, Argyle & Bute
14. Helensburgh, Argyle & Bute
15. Largs Main, North Ayrshire
16. Seamill, North Ayrshire
17. Saltcoats, North Ayrshire
18. Irvine, Gailes New Town, North Ayrshire
19. Irvine, North Ayrshire
20. Barassie, South Ayrshire
21. Troon - South, South Ayrshire
22. Ayr, South Ayrshire
23.Maidens - Turnbury, South Ayrshire
24. Rockliffe - Dumfries and Galloway
25. Sandyhills - Dumfries and Galloway

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The number of beaches in Wales which fail the EU minimum water quality standards have more than doubled this year, from 12 to 26. At the same time the number of recommended beaches have increased from 58 to 60, out of 188 sampled.

1. Splash Point - Rhyl, Denbighshire
2. Abergele-Towyn, Conwy
3. Penrhyn Bay, Conwy
4. Deganwy - North, Conwy
5. Llanbedrog, Gwynedd
6. Criccleth West End, Gwynedd
7. Carreg Wen, Gwynedd
8. Llandanwg, Gwynedd
9. Borth, Ceredigion
10. Patch, Ceredigion
11. Pwll Gwaelod, Pembrokeshire
12. Nolton Haven, Pembrokeshire
13. Wiseman's Bridge, Pembrokeshire
14. Morfa Bychan Pendine, Carmarthenshire
15. Llanstephan &Tywi Estuary, Carmarthenshire
16. Ferryside, Carmarthenshire
17. St Ishmael Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire
18. Broughton Bay, Swansea
19. Swansea Bay - opposite Norton Rd, Swansea
20. Swansea Bay, Opposite Black pill rock
21. Swansea Bay, Sketty Lane, Swansea
22. Swansea Bay, West Cross
23. Swansea Bay, Knab Rock
24. Swansea Bay, Mumbles head
25. Watchouse Bay, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan
26. Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan


One beach out of the 25 sampled failed to reach the minimum EU water quality standards in Northern Ireland. No beaches failed last year. Eleven of the beaches gained recommended status.

1. Carnlough, Antrim

MCS officials monitored 806 British beaches for the quality of their bathing water every two weeks between May and September 2000.

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03 May 01 | Sci/Tech
UK beaches 'better than ever'
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