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South East beaches fit for the summer holidays

Families can head to the seaside in the South East with peace of mind this summer, Catherine Bearder MEP has said.

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The latest European Environment Agency (EAA) and European Commission Bathing Water Report has analysed 22,000 locations around the EU.

And Catherine welcomed news it has given a clean bill of health to almost all the South East's beaches.

She said: "The standard of beaches in the UK and the South East has improved immeasurably.

"We understand the importance of looking after our shorelines for the environment, as well as for the economies of our seaside towns.

"The South East is leading the way when it comes to keeping Europe's beaches clean, tidy and safe to use."

Bathing water in Europe needs to comply with standards set in the EU 2006 Bathing Water Directive, which must be implemented by December 2014.

However, Margate's Walpole Bay beach failed to pass the grade, despite the town boasting a series of blue flags for its other seaside spots.

Catherine has written to Kent County Council, which is responsible for making sure water quality is improved at beaches in the area.

She added: "I am really concerned this particular Margate beach is failing to meet the standards set down by the EU in 2011.

"This seems to be a blip affecting one beach in the area and I will be writing to the council to find out what it is doing to sort out the problem."

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "I am pleased to note the quality of Europe's bathing waters generally remains high, and has improved since last year.

"We must therefore continue our work to ensure our waters are appropriate for all legitimate uses - from bathing to drinking - and that the overall aquatic ecosystem is in good health."

Last year Catherine urged councils and beach users to make sure the South East's beaches were kept clean and tidy.

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