Published:
November 4, 2015
New Burnham Coastal Officer appointed to improve sea water quality

A new coastal community officer is to be appointed to help Burnham-On-Sea improve its sea water quality with a series of local projects, it emerged this week.

The new person will be in post "within weeks" according to Ken Smout, former Mayor of Burnham-On-Sea, pictured below, who spoke to town councillors this week about the ongoing work to improve Burnham's bathing water quality as tough new EU sea water regulations come into force.

Ken - who has attended scores of meetings with local authorities and organisations over the issue - said: "The new coastal community officer will be employed for one year to co-ordinate some of the projects we're looking at, help with communication, handle consultation with the public and negotiation with local groups and businesses."

"The person will be working locally for 35 hours a week with a salary of £20,000- £24,000 a year. It should be pointed out that this council will not be involved in any financial contributions."

"The post has been advertised by Cardiff University and the applicants will be sifted in the next couple of weeks."

Funding for the role will come from several organisations including Environment Agency, Wessex Water, Cardiff University and other partners.

"The post holder will be required to have a degree in economic management and experience in delivering these kind of specialised environmental projects - it's a real high profile job with knowledge required of the environmental issues."

Meanwhile, Mr Smout added that a multi-million pound project to improve the sewerage treatment facilities at Apex Park is ongoing. "A massive task is being undertaken there to update those facilities and work is ongoing," he said.

"It's not just a local problem, though, the river catchment goes right down to Taunton. Work is ongoing with the farming community to reduce effluent and wash-off into water sources and rivers."

He added that local people can also play a key role in improving water quality too. "Locally, the issues of discarded rubbish and dog waste on local beaches is a massive problem."

He added that one of the projects for the new coastal community officer will be an education programme for residents to help them understand more about the dangers of washing non-degradable waste down sinks and drains.

"There is no overnight fix, but a great deal is being done," he said.

He stressed: "The water quality is no worse today here in Burnham than it was ten years ago - it's just that EU has changed the goal posts."

Burnham's Mayor, Cllr Michael Clarke, thanked for Mr Smout for his ongoing work on the issue.

 


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