Exmouth returns to Good Beach Guide list

Exmouth has made a splash in this year's Good Beach Guide – returning to the list after failing last year.

Exmouth has made a splash in this year's Good Beach Guide - returning to the list after failing last year.

Sandy Bay and Budleigh Salterton's water quality has also been recognised and both beaches are also on the list.

Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton received guideline passes, while Sandy Bay was recommended.

The MCA 'guideline' pass means the beach has good water standard only.

The highest standard of 'recommended', awarded to Sandy Bay, means the beach has the highest water quality and good treatment of any continuous sewage discharges.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) carried out the survey of 769 British bathing spots, with 55 per cent being recommended by the conservation group.

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Bathing water tests were conducted in the summer 2009 and MCS believes the lower rainfall in the South West, compared to the previous summer, may have contributed to a four per cent increase in the number of recommended beaches in this year's guide.

Just five beaches failed the minimum legal water quality standard compared to 12 in last year's guide.

Rachel Wyatt, MCS Good Beach Guide officer, said: "In the last three years there's been a shift in the water quality trend on our beaches.

"From 2001 there was a steady improvement which peaked in the Good Beach Guide of 2006 when we recommended a record 505 beaches. Since then, water quality has declined due to high volumes of rain carrying storm pollution from the sewer system, farmland and towns into the sea.

"The regional pattern to this rainfall means that some regions such as North West England and Scotland faired worse in this year's guide whereas others like the Channel Isles did markedly better."

Although bathing water quality in the South West is better than the UK average, around a third of beaches did not achieve the top recommendation.

The MCS said many beaches in the South West continue to suffer from poor water quality due to a mixture of storm pollution from combined sewer overflows and agricultural pollution - particularly animal waste from livestock, washing off farmland during heavy rain.

The Good Beach Guide is available online at www.goodbeachguide.co.uk