Devon and Cornwall beaches break records for high water quality standards

How can this be when we all know that sewage discharge into the sea and rivers continues at record levels? – Owl

Environment Agency and see 

Most beaches met the highest international standards for water quality cleanliness where we bathe. Our beaches and coast helps define the fabulous South West.

Bruce Newport, Devon and Cornwall Area Environment Manager said:

“Our beaches are 100% compliant, so now the challenge is to work collaboratively with everyone to keep our healthy waters in an excellent state for people to enjoy. Our coastline is an incredible natural feature.

We have had relatively few reports of pollution on our beaches this summer which is a credit to everyone maintaining and improving our bathing waters. We would like to say thank you to those groups, communities and businesses which have gone above and beyond to keep pollution out of our water ways.

Bathers and surfers are using our online Swimfo app to make decisions on where to go for the best places to bathe in the summer. Just by looking at Swimfo on your mobile you can get up to date information on the water quality of many of our bathing beaches.”

This year 9 beaches in Devon and Cornwall have improved their bathing water classification, while 4 beaches have deteriorated – Teignmouth Town in Devon,  and Cornwall’s  Readymoney Cove, Porthminster and Swanpool.

Those improving from Good to Excellent are Ladram Bay, Croyde and Plymouth Hoe East in Devon, and Gorran Haven, Pendower, Porthwrinkle and Porthcurnick in Cornwall. Improving from Sufficient to Good are Par Sands in Cornwall and Combe Martin in North Devon.

The improvement this year from Sufficient to Good at Combe Martin is the result of a strong collaborative effort by the Environment Agency, local groups and businesses.

Where foul water is wrongly connected to drains leading to our beaches, poor quality normally follows – this year wrong connections have been identified, fixed and we continue to work with South West Water with this important work.

In North Devon, Croyde has improved from Good to Excellent.  Our scientists have used analytical tests to home in on pollution sources resulting in us working with farmers in the catchment to resolve potential pollution issues. We are committed to doing more in 2023.

In Cornwall, Par Sands has improved from Sufficient to Good, the result again of a collaborative effect by the Environment Agency with local people. We have carried out extensive monitoring in the catchment, investigated potential sources of pollution and ensured problems causing pollution have stopped.

At Teignmouth we continue to work with Teignbridge Council to improve water quality at Teignmouth Town.  We are carrying out investigations into the cause of elevated bacteria numbers in samples taken at Teignmouth in August.

The 9 beaches in Devon and Cornwall which have improved their bathing water classification are:

Devon: Ladram Bay, Croyde, Combe Martin, Plymouth Hoe East

Cornwall: Porthcurnick, Pendower, Gorran Haven Little Perhaver, Portwrinkle, Par Sands

Published 30 November 2022