Revealed: Worst beaches for dumped sewage – is your nearest beach on the list? YES two!

Devon, one of England’s best loved regions for staycations, has four of its beaches in the top (or should that be bottom) five shamed by the new analysis.

Two are in East Devon: Sidmouth at 4 and Exmouth at 5.

Simon Jupp, who voted down in October 2021 an opposition amendment to the Environment Bill seeking to place a legal duty on companies to stop spills,  takes the opportunity for a photo op at the mouth of the Sid but not Exmouth. Cheeky! – Owl

Shocking new data has revealed that some of England’s so-called cleanest beaches might not actually be that clean at all.

Jenny Medlicott

Analysis by the Lib Dems has revealed that a number of the England’s ‘Blue Flag’ beaches, an accreditation given only to ‘well managed beaches with excellent water quality’, are in fact blighted by sewage.

The figures show that during 2022, sewage was dumped onto various beaches a total of 1,504 times, totalling 8,497 hours of sewage dumped on beaches marked as safe and environmentally friendly.

Devon, one of England’s best loved regions for staycations, has four of its beaches shamed by the new analysis.

The top five beaches with the most waste are as follows:

  1. Blackpool Sands Beach, Stoke Fleming, Devon – 63 spills, totalling 1,014 hours
  2. Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon – 79 spills, 946 hours
  3. Beachlands Beach, Hayling Island, Hampshire – 102 spills, 793 hours
  4. Sidmouth Town Beach, Sidmouth, Devon – 59 spills, 631 hours
  5. Exmouth Beach, Exmouth, Devon – 39 spills, 470 hours

Brighton beach in Sussex was also amongst some of the worst hit beaches, which had 45 spills last year.

Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “Britain’s beaches are being ruined by profiteering water companies getting away with dumping sewage as the government has failed to act for years.

“What is the point of an environment secretary who doesn’t care about the environment?”

South West Water was singled out among firms who regularly use ‘storm overflows’ to pump sewage into bodies of water.

The company’s operating officer, John Halsall said: “We are reducing the use of storm overflows and our plan is working but there is more to do.

“We want everyone to feel confident about the water quality at their favourite beaches and to know that we are serious about reducing the use of storm overflows.”

The environment secretary Thérèse Coffey was expected to announce government plans to clean up Britain’s waterways today but instead has sparked outrage with her statement, which has been described as a ‘complete abdication of duty’.

Liberal Democrat’s environment spokesman, Tim Farron MP, said: “It’s disgraceful that Thérèse Coffey is throwing in the towel in the fight to protect our rivers from filthy sewage dumping. This is a complete abdication of duty.”