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Monday, November 8, 1999 Published at 10:29 GMT

UK: Wales

Welsh beaches break clean water records

Only one Welsh beach failed the tests

Only one beach in Wales has failed to reach European bathing water standards this year.

The quality of bathing waters on the coastline of Wales has reached an all-time record for compliance with European standards.

"These results, which form the basis for the Blue Flag awards for the year 2000, provide further evidence that the quality of the seas around our coastline are getting even better," said Welsh Environment Secretary Peter Law.

Only one failure

He said that of the 70 Welsh bathing waters monitored, all but one - Penmaenmawr in north Wales - met the mandatory bacteria standards set in the European bathing water directive.

Last year's overall compliance rate was 94% compared to 98.5% cent this year.

"It is a superb achievement - never before have we seen such high standards in Wales."

Speaking at Jackson's Bay near Barry in south Wales, he added that an increasing number of bathing waters in Wales - 39 this year, up from 25 last year - were achieving the directive's guideline standards.

Sewage treatment

The guideline standards are 20 times tougher than the mandatory ones and provide the water quality standards that beaches must meet to be eligible for a European Blue Flag.

The environment watchdog - Environment Agency Wales - says it is pleased that Welsh clean water standards have reached an all-time record.

The agency recently announced it had changed Dwr Cymru Welsh Water's consent to discharge sewage effluent to coastal waters off Penmaenmawr - the only beach to fail.

The modification means that the company must provide a new sewage treatment works and outfall pipe by April 1, 2001.

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