Bridlington’s beach Blue Flags under threat due to heavy rain

Yorkshire Water's floating barge can be seen floating off the south beach.
Yorkshire Water's floating barge can be seen floating off the south beach.

HEAVY rainfall throughout May and June has led to fears that Bridlington’s north and south beaches could lose their Blue Flags.

The flags, which indicate bathing quality in Britain, were handed back to both beaches in May this year - after north beach had been without one for a year, and south beach, five years.

But last week nearby Filey beach lost its Blue Flag after failing water quality tests on a number of occasions. Beaches are tested every week and flags are lost if they breach limits for E coli – which can cause stomach upsets and sickness – four times in a season, or three times for another bacteria, intestinal enterococci.

Environment Agency team leader Peter Stevenson said: “Bridlington’s bathing water standards were affected by the heavy rainfall in May and June, as were many other beaches across the country.

“Both North and South beach are still on target to achieve the guideline standard this year. However, should there be further bad weather or other problems there is still a possibility that the bathing waters could lose their Blue Flag.”

Filey failed an E coli test on June 7, and on the same occasion breached the limit for intestinal enterococci. Levels of intestinal enterocci were also too high on May 10 and July 3.

Bridlington north recorded 10,000 colonies of Ecoli per 100ml of seawater on June 21, 40 times higher than the Blue Flag limit.

However, as the samples only provide a “snapshot” of the water quality on the day they are taken, the Environment Agency says visitors can bathe with confidence at both resorts.

It is thought that heavy rainfall has contributed to the problems with water quality, with sewer overflows and rain from agricultural land flowing into the sea.

Yorkshire Water announced earlier this year that they are investing £40m along with partner agencies to improve Bridlington’s sewerage system in time for new, tougher European Union water quality directives which will come into place in 2015.

This will include a new pumping station and a 2km long sewerage outfall pipe.

Preliminary work has already begun on the project, with a floating barge arriving off south beach last Friday which will test the seabed and beach.

The barge was towed from Grimsby last Friday morning and is likely to stay off the shore until early next week.