Twenty-five beaches in England may fail to meet tough new EU standards for bathing water quality that come into force on Friday.
Water at the 417 bathing spots monitored by the Environment Agency (EA) in 2014 was cleaner than ever recorded, with 99.5% meeting standards for intestinal enterococci and E. coli, faecal bacteria that cause eye and ear infections and gastroenteritis. In 1988, a third of swimming spots failed the tests.
But the data published by the EA on Friday show that authorities will have to redouble efforts to make all public swimming areas safe under the revised EU Bathing Water Directive, which comes into force this summer bathing season.
Beaches including Blackpool Central and North, Clacton, Ilfracombe Wildersmouth, Hastings, Lyme Regis Church Cliff Beach, Morecambe South, Lancing and Walpole Bay at Margate are among those predicted to fall foul of the stricter rules this summer.
The new European standards will cut acceptable levels of harmful bacteria in half. The change will bring the UK’ standards, which have stayed the same since the late 1970s, in line with advice from the World Heath Organisation.
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