BEACHES across the Fylde coast have been named and shamed as some of Britain’s worst – for the second year in a row.
A new local action group has now been formed in a bid to tackle the problems along the coastline, but there are growing fears tourism could be hit if dirty water continues to tar the region’s reputation.
Just 10 UK beaches failed to make the Environment Agency’s grade this year, and Blackpool’s central and south beaches, the beaches at St Annes North and St Annes Pier and Fleetwood beach were five of them.
The new Fylde Peninsula Water Management Group – which brings together Blackpool, Fylde, Wyre and Lancashire County Councils with United Utilities and the Environment Agency – insist local bathing waters do meet standards “the vast majority of the time”, but has acknowledged action needs to be taken.
Tourism bosses have previously played down the impact of bathing standards on the industry, but Claire Smith, president of Stay Blackpool, said: “We do need to get it sorted because we don’t want publicity like this.
“I do think if it continues it will put people off. We need to know what the problem is and what can be done about it.”
Each bathing water is tested 20 times through the summer, with the two Blackpool beaches and Fleetwood recording two fails and the two beaches in St Annes each failing on three occasions.
The beaches at Bispham and Cleveleys passed, while Blackpool North was not tested because of the ongoing regeneration work.
A spokesman for the Fylde Peninsula group said: “In some cases when the water samples failed the tests, there had been heavy rainfall four days prior to sample which led to storm spills from United Utilities near the River Ribble.
“We are taking the findings of this report very seriously and are committed to looking at the reasons for failure and taking appropriate action. Across the Fylde coast we are working closely with United Utilities and the Environment Agency to improve the quality of our bathing waters.”