St Annes beach is 'dirtiest in UK' claims rejected

The Environment Agency says a recent report branding St Annes beach the ‘dirtiest in the UK’ should be ‘treated with caution’.

By Wes Holmes
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 12:30 pm

The beach was ranked worst in the UK for sea swimming by commercial waste collection company Business Waste, based the total count of E. Coli detected during routine government testing of 425 beaches across England, Scotland and Wales.

On May 17, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs released a ‘pollution risk warning’ for St Annes North after water company United Utilities pumped sewage into the sea to prevent flooding at its waste water treatment works following a period of heavy rainfall.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Pollution in the sea at St Annes

This followed two previous sewage spills reported on May 4 and May 6.

However, the Environment Agency said that seawater in the area maintains bathing water quality standards, with St Annes being classified as ‘good’ and St Annes North as ‘sufficient’ by DEFRA.

An EA spokesman said: “We would like to reassure concerned members of the public that the coastal bathing waters in St Annes meet bathing water quality standards. Recently published data widely circulated by Business Waste does not give a realistic picture of bathing water quality. The data does not use the formally adopted method for rating the quality of bathing waters in England and the rankings published by Business Waste should be treated with caution.

“In 2021, 99 per cent of bathing waters met the minimum standard of Sufficient, with 94.7 per cent meeting the highest standards of ‘good’ and ‘excellent’.”

Pollution in the sea at St Annes