Staff join in beach clean up

Council staff including chief executive Neil Jack taking part in a clean-up of Blackpool beach.

Council staff including chief executive Neil Jack taking part in a clean-up of Blackpool beach.

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Town hall staff have led the way when it comes to getting Blackpool’s beaches cleaner.

Workers left their desks behind to go litter-picking on the sands to raise awareness about caring for our seaside.

Even chief executive Neil Jack was among the staff who rolled their sleeves up to scour the seafront for debris.

The band of volunteers met up at Central Pier before getting down to work.

Council chiefs hope the move will set a good example, and encourage others to do the same.

Blackpool has been warned it must bring its bathing waters up to scratch in order to meet strict EU regulations or else signs could be put up warning people not to swim in the sea.

Keeping the shoreline clean is seen as vital to improving the water quality.

Blackpool Council is currently working with Fylde, Wyre and Lancashire County Councils, as well as Keep Britain Tidy, United Utilities and the Environment Agency to improve bathing water on the Fylde coast.

Coun Gary Coleman, cabinet member with responsibility for the environment, said: “We are taking some really important steps to improve the quality of bathing water off the coast in Blackpool.

“Along with various other organisations on the Fylde coast, we are investing in infrastructure which will make sure cleaner water is deposited into the sea, as well as putting systems in place to deal with sewer overflow and surface water drainage.

“On top of these works, there is a lot the public can do too. Clearing up after themselves before they leave the beach, and picking up the mess from their dogs are just a few ways of making our beaches and bathing water cleaner.

“But on top of asking for the public’s help, the council must also lead by example and I’m proud so many of our staff are willing to volunteer their time to help clean up the beach.

“Our employees are dedicated to improving Blackpool in any way possible and I hope people will follow our lead and help us keep the beach clean.”

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Sea water must be clean by 2015

The Good Beaches Guide revealed in March this year two of the resort’s three beaches were again failing to meet mandatory bathing water standards.

Pollution experts have warned the situation will drive visitors away unless urgent action is taken.

Although Blackpool’s Central Beach and the two beaches in St Annes, together with the waters in Fleetwood, have improved from failing last year to meet minimum standards, Blackpool North and South beaches have not improved while Cleveleys beach has got worse.

If the waters are still failing in two years’ time, officials will be forced to display signs warning people against swimming in the sea under a new EU directive which will come into force in 2015.

Dr Robert Keirle, pollution programme manager for the Marine Conservation Society, which publishes the annual guide, has warned: “People will vote with their feet.”

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