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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 June 2007, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
SW 'cleanest beaches in Europe'
Hope cove
South West Water has spent 1.5bn on cleaning the waters

The South West has some of the cleanest bathing waters in Europe, according to a new EU report.

Inspectors tested in 2006 the bathing water quality of places including the French Riviera, the Algarve and the Costa Del Sol.

All of the 144 bathing waters across Devon and Cornwall passed the mandatory standards set by inspectors and 132 complied with guide values.

Twenty five of the region's beaches have also been awarded a Blue Flag.

Stephen Bird, operations director of South West Water, said: "This report demonstrates what an incredible contribution Clean Sweep has made to the South West over the last 18 years.

"It was one of Europe's biggest environmental programmes and has now produced Europe's cleanest bathing waters."

He said the company has spent 1.5bn on removing over 220 crude sewage outfalls. He added a further 8.7m will be spent this year on areas of the Cornish coastline.

Robin Barker, deputy chief executive, South West Tourism, said: "All the research we do confirms the fact that beaches and our coastline are one of the very top reasons people visit the South West.

"The Clean Sweep programme may have been painful on the pockets of those who live here, but the return on that investment now means that we have amongst the best beaches in Europe, which will benefit not only the people who visit the region, but also those who live and work here."

Region leads clean beach awards
15 May 06 |  Cornwall
Beach is named 'cleanest in UK'
01 Apr 05 |  Dorset

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