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Last Updated: Friday, 15 August, 2003, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
Beach re-opened after tests
Dawlish Town Beach
The council says it was acting in the interests of public safety
A south Devon beach was closed after it failed water cleanliness tests.

Dawlish Town Beach was closed on Thursday after failing to meet European standards.

The Environment Agency declared on Friday the water was safe and Teignbridge District Council allowed the beach to be re-opened.

However, local businesses have expressed concern about the damage done to tourism during the busiest week of the year so far.

It would be totally irresponsible of any local authority not to act other than in the best interest of the public
Councillor Gordon Hook
Teignbridge council decided to close the beach on Thursday after tests carried out by the Environment Agency on Wednesday.

The tests showed the water contained very slightly more faecal matter than permitted.

The water was re-tested on Thursday. The results were quickly analysed and gave the beach the all-clear.

The agency has emphasised that the original level of pollution was very low and could have been due to a freak sample.

This could have been caused by a child with a dirty nappy being in the water, or a flock of seagulls being overhead just before the sample was taken.

Beaches are allowed to have a number of small failures each year in order to account for freak results.

Public safety

However, some local businesses are accusing the council of acting too quickly and discouraging tourists.

Chris Purser of the Molly Mac's shop said: "We rely on people coming down to a beach for a swim, or to look at the views and stuff like that.

"Normally on a Friday we have a bit of a queue. But this morning there was just nobody about because of the signs that went up."

The council says it was acting in the interests of public safety.

Councillor Gordon Hook said: "We knew that water quality was not of the acceptable standard. It would be totally irresponsible of any local authority not to act other than in the best interest of the public.

"We therefore took the decision to advise the public that it was dangerous to bathe. We didn't say 'don't bathe', we just said there was a problem."


SEE ALSO:
Claims over beach closures
04 Aug 03  |  Devon
Fewer Blue Flags this year
05 Jun 03  |  Devon


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