South's bathing beaches better than ever

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) said that last year's dry summer - the driest since 2003 - has resulted in more bathing beaches than ever being "recommended" for their excellent water quality in its annual Good Beach Guide.

The MCS rated 538 out of 734 (73%) UK beaches tested during last summer as having excellent water quality - 135 more than the previous year.

There were also fewer failures, with just 14 beaches tested last summer failing to reach minimum water quality standards.

In the South East of England there were no failures at all, meaning all monitored beaches met the standards set.

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Record number of good beaches

The driest summer in a decade has led to a record number of beaches achieving a marine charity's top water quality award around the UK - with many in the South & South East.