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Allonby's south beach fails water test

Allonby south beach Photo: ITV Border

A small west Cumbrian community is worried for its future after its local beach failed to reach minimum bathing water standards.

Businesses in Allonby rely on tourism. Now local people are worried that will mean a drop in visitors after what's already been the worst season they have ever known.

It's the first time in 17 years that Allonby Bay's south beach has failed to meet the minimum European standards for bathing water and the findings have been blamed mainly on the incredibly wet summer.

It has meant that pollution has been washed from villages and farmlands into rivers and streams and subsequently into the sea.

A outlet on the beach Credit: ITV Border

The news is of great concern to businesses who rely heavily on tourism to stay afloat. For Peter Blake who runs a hotel in the village the rain has already led to the worst season he has ever known,

Peter Blake Credit: ITV Border

'It's not nice or anybody, to just me but the whole of Allonby because the whole of Allonby relies on tourism so if anything bad is said about Allonby beach or Allonby in general it can only detract from visitors rather than attract them.

"As a businessman my main concerns is that by March if nothing is done about it and by law now I think these beaches need to have blue flags and yellow flags and things like that and people look on the internet for everything like pubs and any business, they look to see the quality of the water and the quality of the beaches where they take the children and if nothings done about it and the quality isn't there, what if 25% of people say we're not going to Allonby because the beaches are dirty?"

– Peter Blake, Owner Baywatch Hotel Allonby
Businesses in Allonby Credit: ITV Border

So cleaning up Allonby's south beach is important for all of Allonby.

But it's not all bad new, this is one of only three in the whole of Cumbria that failed to make the grade, the beach to the north of the bay passed as did St Bees, Silloth, Silecroft and Seascale and nationally 93% of beaches all met the minimum standards.

United Utilities have spent millions upgrading their wastewater network and the have said they're committed to working with the environment agency, with councils and with the National farmers Union to stop pollution getting into the sea.

Whether or not that can happen in time for the 2013 tourist season is another matter.

Allonby's south Beach Credit: ITV Border