New tests on the quality of bathing water along the Fylde coast show our beaches are passing with flying colours.
The 2014 bathing season has now begun, which means coastal waters will be checked by the Environment Agency every week until September to ensure they are meeting Government-set cleanliness targets.
But pre-season checks, carried out as recently as two weeks ago, showed the coast from St Annes to Fleetwood is of a very good quality, as set out by the current Bathing Water Directive.
The Environment Agency will test its samples for certain types of bacteria which indicate the presence of pollution, and rate the waters as failing standards or give them a minimal pass or higher pass.
Currently, all Fylde coast waters have a higher pass.
At the end of last summer, all Blackpool waters met existing standards for the first time since 2005, although St Annes and Fleetwood failed.
Keith Ashcroft, from the Environment Agency, said: “Our testing shows that the most likely sources of pollution come from households with wrongly connected drains, run off from agricultural land, sewer overflows following heavy rain and even dog foul that has washed into the sea.”
The LOVEmyBEACH and Turning Tides campaigns aim to improve bathing water quality across the North West.
Neil Jack, chairman of Turning Tides, said: “Through hard work and support for the LOVEmyBEACH campaign, we are committed to having beaches we can be proud of.
“That’s why we’re asking local communities and businesses to get behind us and help prevent pollution from getting into our water.
“Taking simple steps such as not to pouring cooking fats, oils and grease down the sink, picking up your dog’s mess and putting it in the bin, not feeding the birds at the beach and checking your drain connections can really help make our seas cleaner.”
For next year, bathing waters must meet much tougher standards to comply with more stringent EU laws.
The Environment Agency is warning 40 beaches across the country are at risk of failing, including Blackpool.