Kent’s beaches hitting the top spot
Of the county’s 30 beaches, 25 were given top marks by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).
Just five failed to make the “recommended” grade – the MCS’s standard for excellent water quality.
Littlestone, near New Romney, was ranked as mandatory – the standard for minimum water quality – as was the popular Viking Bay in Broadstairs.
Ramsgate Western Undercliffe dropped from recommended in last year’s guide to mandatory and Joss Bay in Broadstairs also dropped down a mark.
Thanet District Council was forced to shut all the district’s beaches for swimming for more than a week in June last year after raw sewage was
discharged into the sea from Southern Water’s sewage pumping station at Foreness Point following heavy rain.
But despite this, the majority of Thanet beaches came out relatively unscathed, with just four of its 13 missing the recommended mark in the MCS’s Good Beach Guide 2013.
Not one of Kent’s beaches failed the MCS’s bathing water standards.
Chief executive of Visit Kent, Sandra Matthews-Marsh, said it was good news for the county.
“The Kent coastline, our fabulous beaches and the increasing range of water sports now available are a very important part of our visitor economy,” she said.
“We must continue to do all we can to ensure that our water quality remains high which, as this report shows, is not simple and very dependent on levels of rainfall which are out of our control.
“This recognition of the safety of bathing right along our coast, with not one of our beaches failing the marine conservation standards this year, follows on from Viking Bay in Broadstairs gaining a Best in Britain accolade from TripAdvisor as one of the best beaches in Britain.
“Now all we need is a good sunny summer so that we can all get out and about at the seaside.”
An MCS spokeswoman said the latest results were great news for Kent.
Coastal pollution officer at MCS, Rachel Wyatt, said last year’s wet summer had led to more sewage in the seas nationally.
“There is no simple solution to sewage and animal waste reaching our seas,” she said.
“However if the water industry, communities and local authorities recognise there is a problem and begin to work together to find answers then that would
be a significant start.”