Skegness’s beaches water quality has fallen short of the recommended standards set by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).
The MCS Good Beach Guide reports annually on water quality at UK beaches, using data collected by the UK environment agency and local authorities during the previous year’s bathing season, from mid May to September.
Out of nine Lincolnshire beaches, which reached the recommended levels, including: Ingoldmells South; Chapel St Leonards; Anderby; Moggs Eye; Sutton-on-Sea; Mablethorpe Town; Humberston Fitties and Cleethorpes, Skegness was the only beach that failed to reach the recommended category, or even the guideline standard for water quality.
Instead, Skegness beach fell into the ‘mandatory’ category which meant it only reached the minimum water quality requirement, recommended for bathing.
The category refers to levels of bacteria and viruses in the water. ‘Mandatory’ means the water quality came in at just above the minimum requirement, which is 95 per cent of samples not exceeding 2,000 E.coli per 100 ml.
A spokesman for East Lindsey District Council said: “It’s great news that Mablethorpe, Sutton on Sea, Ingoldmells, Chapel St Leonards, Moggs Eye and Anderby, have once again achieved a ‘recommended’ water quality standard, following water sampling during 2013.
“Water quality is influenced by many different factors and although Skegness didn’t achieve the ‘recommended’ standard on this occasion, the resort has passed the European standard for Bathing Water quality and continues to be one of the UK’s popular seaside resorts.”
The Environment Agency said: “During the official bathing water season, 20 samples are taken and tested to find out the quality of the water.
“Last year a few samples showed a lower quality than the other samples. We believe these were down to small localised incidents as there was nothing in common in the failing samples.
“Because of this there is no reason to suspect that the same set of incidents would happen again this year.”
Next year there will be a revised Bathing Water Directive.
This means the current Bathing Water Directive, which is now more than 30 years old, is to be updated.
It sets higher water quality standards and also puts a stronger emphasis on the management of bathing waters by the beach operator and greater provision of public information.
The Environment Agency is working towards the (rBWD) standards now, so that they comply with the more stringent targets by the time it comes into effect in 2015.
The new standards will be based on average water quality measurements over a four year period.
The standards the Environment Agency currently use have a ‘pass or fail’ for every sample.
For the majority of the time, bathing water quality standards are passed at all waters.