BLACKPOOL and St Annes beaches were today labelled “potential health hazards” after failing to meet European standards.
And marine experts have issued a stark warning to the Fylde coast resorts – improve by 2015 or face a ban on swimming.
Blackpool Central and South, St Annes and St Annes North have all failed to meet clean water limits set by European law.
The “Failed” rating – which features in the Good Beach Guide –equates to the beaches being ranked as a potential health hazards.
Fylde’s other beaches at Bispham, Cleveleys and Fleetwood all achieved a ‘Basic Pass’ ranking.
While council chiefs claim the failures were “misleading”, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), which conducted the water study, is standing by its findings.
Fylde Council said the damning failure grade was based on two results from pollution tests taken last year during heavy rain and a high tide.
Blackpool Council blames the continued development work on the Promenade, but is “adamant” water off the iconic Golden Mile is safe for bathers.
Coun Graham Cain, Blackpool Council’s portfolio holder for tourism and culture, said: “Anything that is bad for the town sends out the wrong message.
“I will have to review some of our other activities because we have to prioritise and this is a priority and we have to get it back on track.
“We can’t afford to not be meeting the standards. We want to be top of the league.”
A spokesman for Fylde Council said: “The figures are the truth, we can’t run away from that, but they are misleading. If the two failed tests had been conducted days earlier or later when the adverse weather conditions had gone away we wouldn’t have failed.
“We are disappointed people will read the Good Beach Guide and get a misleading impression.
“The water in 2011 is of the highest quality which can be measured and the Good Beach Guide is using last year’s figures. The long-term pattern is clean water and we are confident it will continue to be clean.”
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