fightback starts after EU gives Burnham 'poor' sea water grade
bosses in Burnham-On-Sea say the town remains a great destination
for holidaymakers despite its sea water quality being officially
graded 'poor' this week under new EU bathing water standards.
long-expected announcement came on Thursday that bathing water
standards at Burnham Jetty have been rated 'poor' while Berrow
is classed as 'good' and Brean 'excellent'.
Jefferies, business and tourism manager at Burnham's tourist information
centre, right, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "It's the
EU water testing process that has changed, not our sea water quality,
so the bathing standards have not worsened in any way here in
have known this announcement was coming for several years, so
I'm disappointed that more has not been done to help Burnham,
shouldn't put off holidaymakers."
have marvellous award-winning beaches in Burnham and super attractions
for visitors and residents locally. This is a great destination
regardless of the EU's water quality grading. Our seven miles
of sandy beaches are among the best in the whole region - and
that's the message we are promoting."
MP James Heappey said on Thursday that the news is 'a blow for
Burnham and local residents', adding that he is confident Burnham
will meet the more stringent standards in the future.
Heappey, right, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "I have been
disappointed to see that the bathing water at Burnham-on-Seas
Jetty has been graded poor under new EU bathing water grades."
Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs were taking
questions in the House of Commons and so I was immediately able
to raise this important local issue with the Minister responsible.
On Monday, in preparation for todays announcement, I attended
the Bathing Water Quality Multi-Agency Steering Group at the Drainage
Board in Highbridge to hear about the plans in place to address
this by the Environment Agency, Natural England, Wessex Water
and Sedgemoor District Council."
MP added: "I know that a great deal of investment has already
been made and all are clear on what must be done. I have every
confidence that they will continue in their work and that Burnham
will meet the standards in the future."
this is a blow for Burnham and local residents and businesses
will expect progress to be quick and no stone left unturned so
that this is put right as soon as possible. Whilst I accept that
the quality of the water has not deteriorated this is purely
the consequence of a change in classification by the EU
we cannot hide behind that."
has always been a fantastic place to come on holiday, tens of
thousands of families do so every year and they have a great time
whilst theyre here."
reputations can be lost quickly and so we must accelerate our
efforts to make sure that this grade is improved and Burnham remains
a fantastic place to come on holiday for centuries to come."
Burnham-On-Sea Chamber of Trade spokesman added: "The news
is disappointing, albeit not unexpected, and we will work with
local businesses to help promote a positive message about the
many great quality facilitities and attractions that the Burnham
area has to offer."
spokesperson for Sedgemoor's Bathing Water Quality Group said
on Thursday that it is "pleased that the beach at Brean has
been classed as 'excellent' and Berrow as 'good' under the revised
Bathing Water standards. However, the group is disappointed that
the sea water quality at Burnham Beach has been classified as
Poor. The beach is very near to the estuaries of two
main rivers that flow from a huge catchment area."
"The bathing water quality at Burnham beach has not deteriorated.
However, as a result of new legislation and an improved understanding
of the link between bacteria levels and bather health risk, water
quality sampling is now more stringent with new standards coming
into force in for the 2015 season. These changes have the effect
of raising the bar for sampling and are twice as strict
as the previous standards."
"There is a huge catchment area related to the sea at Burnham-On-Sea
and the bathing beach is located at the mouth of the two large
rivers that drain this area. There is not one discharge source
causing the problems; there are 'thousands' of sources of pollution
across a huge catchment area of the Rivers Parrett and Brue."
"Five years of concerted effort by members of the group have
brought Burnham much closer to passing the stricter standards.
The group will continue its efforts to tackle the problems across
the catchment area. This includes a multi-million pound investment
by Wessex Water to help improve the bathing water quality."
"There will be signs advising people not to swim in the sea
during 2016, but the beach at Burnham-on-Sea will continue to
have all its usual amenities for people to enjoy."
first reported earlier this week that a new
coastal community officer is to be appointed to help Burnham improve
its sea water quality alongside other projects.
earlier this year the Environment Agency installed a sea
quality warning sign on Burnham jetty to display the latest
water standards to act as guidance to sea users.
Wessex Water has a project
of major work underway at Highbridge's water treatment plant
to improve local sea water quality.