May 23, 2016
New EU signs in Burnham warning against sea swimming are ignored

New warning signs introduced in Burnham-On-Sea to advise visitors not to swim in the 'poor quality sea water' following the introduction of new EU regulations are already being ignored.

The launch of the signs comes after stricter EU regulations were introduced, leaving Burnham with a low score in terms of water quality.

This has resulted in Burnham's annual summer Stert Island swim being cancelled, as reported here, ending a 15-year tradition, and last week Burnham missed out on a Seaside Award because of the classification of our sea water.

But while it is a legal requirement for the council to alert users of the dangers posed by the water and the signs, pictured below, some are already ignoring the guidance. Several families were seen enjoying the high tide on Sunday evening and took a paddle and a dip in the water.

Wessex Water has a multi-million pound project underway to improve sea water quality in Burnham-On-Sea.

And Burnham's recently-appointed Coastal Officer, Harriet Yates-Smith, pictured below, is running an independent community campaign called Litter Free Coast and Sea Somerset, led by the Severn Estuary Partnership.

"There has been lots of positive interest - people really want to get involved. Everyone wants to look after Burnham's beach. Bathing water quality here really can be improved if everyone does their little bit," she told

She is "encouraging people to consider and reduce their own impacts on water quality" through campaigns against dog fouling, littering and other pollution.

Sedgemoor District Council spokeswoman Claire Faun told "Burnham-On-Sea beach was not eligible for a Seaside Award because of the classification of its bathing waters."

"Burnham-On-Sea beach still achieves high standards with regards to a clean, attractive and well managed beach."

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said it is also "committed to working hard with local partners to improve water quality" at Burnham.

Burnham Jetty North was one of 10 beaches across the UK that were previously regarded as safe but are now deemed unsuitable for swimming under the new standards - even though local people say the quality is no worse now than it used to be.


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