Wales’ coasts continue to meet the highest water quality standards

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Bay of Cemaes. Image of the Welsh government

Wales’ beaches have achieved 100% compliance with high quality bathing water standards for the fourth year in a row.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) reported that of the 105 bathing waters sampled from beaches in Wales, 85 had the highest rating of ‘excellent’, 14 were rated ‘good’ and six were rated as ‘good’. deemed “sufficient” to ensure the maintenance of the coasts of Wales. to meet some of the strictest water quality standards in Europe.

A classification of excellent water quality is one of the main requirements for applying for a Blue Flag award, and in 2021 each has been tested at least 8 times; just before and throughout the season from May to September.

The results are used to assess compliance with the standards set by the Bathing Water Directive. In 2015, stricter standards were implemented in Wales, requiring designated bathing waters to meet even stricter water quality targets.

One of the biggest success stories from this year’s results is Cemaes Bay on the Isle of Anglesey. In 2017, the water quality in Cemaes was classified as “bad”.

As a result of a major joint effort between the Council, Natural Resources Wales and the local community to improve the quality of bathing water, Cemaes Bay has seen year-to-year improvements and this year achieved the quality standard of highest bathing water, “excellent”.

Derek Owen, chairman of the Llanbadrig community council, has been heavily involved in the work to improve the quality of swimming in Cemaes.

He said: “This improvement in the quality of bathing water is great news for the local economy as well as the clear public health benefits of having a high quality environment.

“Coastal communities like ours rely heavily on tourism, and people come here to enjoy clean beaches and good bathing waters. Thus, this year’s excellent rating will be very well received by local businesses and residents of Cemaes and surrounding areas.

Confidence

Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “I am delighted that for the fourth year in a row Wales, which is internationally known for its stunning coastlines, continues to have some of the best bathing waters in the world. Europe.

“I am extremely grateful to everyone who has helped us achieve this continued success, in particular Natural Resources Wales who, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, have continued to implement their testing program to help maintain standards. the highest in our waters. “

Vaughan Gething, Minister for the Economy, said: “We know that many people have decided to stay in Wales for their holidays this year – and have thus discovered what our beautiful coastline has to offer. These results are an excellent sign of confidence in the quality of our bathing water and in the team effort of communities, regulators and other partners to safeguard our natural assets.

The Welsh government has said it will seek to replicate this level of success when it begins to designate more inland waters, for example lakes and rivers, as bathing waters in Wales.

The recent debate and public reaction to the discharge of sewage into rivers shows that this may still be a long way off.

Tory MPs, including 10 in Welsh constituencies, had voted against an amendment to the environmental bill that would have forced water companies to reduce their effluent discharge into rivers and seas.

A Senedd committee has called on the Welsh government to ensure Wales’ waterways are protected from sewage discharge after legislation is passed in Westminster.

The Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee wrote a letter to Julie James MS to clarify a number of issues regarding the current rules governing the discharge of wastewater into Welsh rivers and seas by water companies. waters of Wales.

The “Environment Act 2021” introduces a series of new measures aimed at reducing the harmful impact of wastewater on rivers and coastal areas in England.


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