Local Euro MP Catherine Bearder has congratulated councils across South East England for their excellent standard of beaches.
According to the newly published 2011 Good Beach Guide, produced by the Marine Conservation Society, the water quality at all beaches in South East England has reached at least to pass level.
Catherine, who campaigns for greater environmental standards, commented, "For all of our beaches to pass is a great achievement. It speaks volumes about the good work being done by our councils and beach-users to make sure our beaches are free from water pollution."
"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."
Despite having passed current standards, in October 2010 a report from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) predicted that at their current levels four beaches across the South East would fail the new European standards on water quality that will be introduced in 2015. These beaches are Littlestone in Kent, Hastings and Bexhill in Sussex, and Southsea in Hampshire.
Catherine added, "I visited Hastings a year ago to see what they're doing to reach the new minimum standards by 2015. Hastings, like a number of other beach towns across the country, has very old Victorian drains that make stopping pollution significantly more difficult."
"Despite this obstacle, good progress is being made. But we mustn't let this infrastructure become an excuse for complacency."
"The cleanup must continue."
To see the MCS's Good Beach Guide please click here.
To see DEFRA's projections for how our beaches will be judged against the new European standards please click here.
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".