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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 August 2006, 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK
Beaches praised for water quality
Deckchairs on Brighton beach
Hot, dry weather is said to have reduced storm pollution
As many people head to UK beaches for the bank holiday, campaigners say sea water is at its cleanest.

More than 93% of 520 beaches tested weekly by the Environment Agency had their water quality judged as excellent and only two beaches failed.

It is thought the improvement has been caused by the recent hot weather.

But the Marine Conservation Society says while sea water is at its cleanest, stormy and wet weather could worsen water quality.

Travel montage

Only two beaches failed to meet the legal requirement. The remainder met the minimum European standards and were awarded a basic pass.

But Thomas Bell, from the Marine Conservation Society said: "A lot of pollution now is related to the weather and obviously at the moment it's started to rain a little bit.

"Certainly if it rains very heavily, you get flooding... that in turn causes pollution to wash into the sea. That can bring the water quality down."

Weather forecasters say the UK will see light showers over the bank holiday weekend, with sunny intervals on Monday.

Seaside holidays in the UK are awful
Piggy and Tazzy, Barnsley

But the BBC Weather Centre said there will be no repeat of the earlier heat, with temperatures set to get no higher than 22C.

Meanwhile, The Highways Agency has suspended roadworks at 11 major sites as an estimated 30 million holidaymakers take to the roads to enjoy a final summer break.

A spokesman said the suspensions seemed to have had a good effect on traffic flow.

"Everything's running smoothly at the moment," he said.

"It's normal Saturday traffic, there doesn't seem to be any huge rush to go anywhere, and people got on their way on Thursday and Friday - yesterday was quite busy."

Thousands of people were also expected to pass through UK airports on Saturday.

Hand luggage graphic

The anti-terror restrictions mean only one bag no bigger than 45cm x 35cm x 16cm (17.7in x 13.7in x 6.2in approx) may be carried on with the passenger, while everything else must go in the aircraft hold.

No liquids of any type are permitted through the airport security search point, other than prescription medicines and baby milk and liquid baby food.

For flights to the US, extra restrictions are in place and no toiletries or cosmetics purchased in the departure lounge will be allowed on.

The Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) said Saturday would be a busy day at UK airports, with Majorca, the Canary Islands, the Greek Islands, Italy, Cyprus and Turkey among the top destinations.

Around 320,000 will also head for the Continent by ferry or by Eurotunnel.

The Eurostar has added an extra two trains to its schedule to cater for the additional 140,000 passengers it is expecting.

Why good weather benefits our beaches

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