Thousands of pounds of funding has been secured for a new Coastal Officer to be based in Burnham who will promote local beaches to tourists and offset the impact of new EU sea water regulations.

Fresh talks have been held this week around improving Burnham-On-Sea’s sea water quality ahead of the new stringent EU sea water regulations coming into force later this year that it’s feared could hit local tourism.

The latest in a series of meetings involving representatives from the Environment Agency, DEFRA, Sedgemoor District Council, Natural England and the Town Council (pictured right) was held in Burnham this week where the new funding was discussed.

Burnham resident Ken Smout, who attended on behalf of the Town Council, told “Funding has been secured for a new Coastal Officer to be based in Burnham who will help to actively promote our beaches and oversee local environmental issues. I think this is a very positive step forward to help our area.”

“We also have a leaflet drop planned for later this year to outline to local residents and businesses how they can help to reduce pollution in rivers and the sea.”

He added: “A two-pronged approach is being taken – first to deal with the problem, and we are already seeing improvements at the Highbridge water treatment plant, and secondly to better promote the issue and what can be done locally.”

“The groups are meeting regularly and positive discussions have been held about how we can jointly address the issue.”

A change to EU policy back in 2006 has meant that the current classification of bathing water will soon change to a more demanding set of criteria.

The change means that sea water off Burnham might fall below the new standards unless improvements are made across the Rivers Brue and Parrett catchment areas.