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Beach water quality improvement 'great news' for Wales

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) Wales Programme Manager, Gill Bell, says she hopes the latest figures on Welsh beach water quality will be a boost to tourism in Wales.

The MCS has recommended 109 out of 152 Welsh beaches tested during last summer as having excellent water quality - that's 11 more than the previous year.

It's great news that we are able to recommend so many beaches for excellent water quality and it shows just how good Welsh beaches can be. The main challenge now is maintaining these standards, whatever the weather.

Most people don't realise what a big impact the weather can have on bathing water quality, but this has really been highlighted in the last few years. 2008, 2009 and 2012 were, according to the Met Office, amongst the wettest summers on record since 1910, and fewer UK bathing waters met minimum and higher water quality standards because of increased pollution running off rural and urban areas and overloaded sewers.

Visitors to the Good Beach Guide will now be able to see really up to date information. We've supported the development of forecast systems that provide information about when water quality is likely to be temporarily poor.

But these predictions are no replacement for improvements and so Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and local authorities must continue to improve sewerage infrastructure and reduce diffuse pollution so that eventually we will only need such warnings during and after exceptionally wet weather.

– Gill Bell, Marine Conservation Society Wales Programme Manager

More Welsh beaches receive 'top water quality award'

Rhossili Bay in South Wales Credit: PA

One of Wales' driest summers in recent memory has resulted in more bathing beaches than last year being recommended for their excellent water quality in the annual 'Good Beach Guide' launched online today.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has recommended 109 out of 152 beaches tested during last summer as having excellent water quality - that's 11 more than the previous year.

There was also one less failure than the previous year, with just four beaches tested last summer failing to reach minimum water quality standards.


Heavy rain affects quality of Wales' beaches

Rhyl beach failed to meet bathing water standards Credit: ITV News

Heavy rain and flooding in Wales last summer is being blamed for the drop in the number of beaches which have excellent water quality, according to the latest Good Beach Guide.

The annual results released by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) today show that the number of beaches found as having excellent water quality has fallen from 153 in 2012 to 98 this year.

Beaches which failed to meet bathing water standards included Rhyl in Denbighshire, Criccieth in Gwynedd and Ogmore Slip in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The MCS said, "Relentless rain and flooding in many parts of the country led to an increase in the amount of bacteria and viruses ending up in our bathing waters.

"This type of pollution can originate from a variety of sources such as agricultural and urban run-off, storm waters, misconnected plumbing, septic tanks and dog faeces.

"Sewage and animal waste is full of viruses and bacteria and most water users won’t be aware that this type of pollution can increase the chance of them going home with an ear, nose or throat infection, or even gastroenteritis."

To see whether your local beach passed the test visit the Good Beach Guide website here.