The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has suggested that three beaches in the South East (Hastings, Bexhill and Littlestone) will fail to meet new environmental standards unless immediate action is taken. To fight the increase in untreated sewage being pumped into the water on our beaches, new European standards on water quality will be introduced in 2015 and many beaches across the UK could fall short of these new environmental standards.
The UK is currently ranked 18th out of 22 European countries for beach cleanliness. Bathing water tests are based on the risk of someone who dips their head in the water getting an illness - an upset stomach, for example, or an ear infection. Under the current rules, that risk must not exceed 12 to 15%. The revised directive will reduce that to 8% for the "sufficient" category, about 5% for the "good" category and 3% for "excellent".
Commenting on the publication of the MCS's Good Beach Guide, Hastings' Euro MP Catherine Bearder said, "If we don't act now these beaches will fall beneath our minimum environmental standards. This will ruin them for future generations."
"These beaches are natural treasures but if we don't look after them future generations will not be able to enjoy them."
"Our use of beaches must be sustainable: this means clearing up our rubbish before we leave, respecting the marine and coastal environment, and doing what we can to stop pollution."
"We must all do our bit: residents and tourists alike must work with the council to protect our beaches."
"The cleanup must start now."