‘Excellent’ standards of beach bathing water at Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton, say Environment Agency


Exmouth - Credit: Archant

Beach bathing water quality at Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Sandy Bay has been rated excellent by the Environment Agency.

A view of the beach at Budleigh Salterton. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exb 3499-13-11SH

A view of the beach at Budleigh Salterton. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exb 3499-13-11SH - Credit: Archant

But Ladram Bay’s bathing water quality is under the microscope, and an investigation launched, after it was downgraded to sufficient, from 2017’s good rating.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “It is disappointing to see bathing water quality at Ladram Bay deteriorate to sufficient after it improved to good in 2016.

“We are committed to working hard with local partners to improve water quality at Ladram Bay, which remains open for people to enjoy.

“Although Ladram Bay has been classified as sufficient this year, we continue our work with councils, water companies, farmers, local businesses and communities to maintain and improve water quality at bathing beaches.”

Ladram Bay. Picture: Joseph Bulmer

Ladram Bay. Picture: Joseph Bulmer - Credit: Archant

The Environment Agency (EA) said its investigation into why bathing water quality has deteriorated at Ladram Bay during the 2018 bathing water season could include DNA analysis of samples to determine if the bacterial source is from human or animal effluent.

The EA said checks might involve rapid bacterial sampling to find out if a private sewage system has been fixed at a property near West Stream, or checking if cattle are accessing and polluting the stream during the summer.

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Throughout the bathing water season, from May to September, Environment Agency staff take up to 20 samples at each designated bathing spot, which are tested in EA laboratories and the results published online.

Nationally, 97.9 per cent of the country’s 420 bathing waters passed tough standards; some 98.7 per cent of Devon and Cornwall’s 150 waters passed the strict criteria, with more of the county’s beaches than ever before achieving an excellent rating.

Bruce Newport, area environment manager for the Environment Agency in Devon and Cornwall, said: “Our oceans are a valuable resource for both food, leisure and the economy.

“Checking how clean they are is a role the Environment Agency takes very seriously and we are delighted with the record results this year.

“Everyone’s continued hard work has paid off. We are delighted to see such great water quality at our beaches which contribute so much to the local economy and are now a signature of the South West.”