EXTREME rainfall has been blamed for Bridlington’s South Beach losing its blue flag status.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council have confirmed this week that the beach lost its blue flag last month, just three months after it was awarded the flag for the first time in five years.
But the news, which has been hailed by Bridlington South ward councillor Chad Chadwick as an “absolute shame”, comes just weeks before a £40m scheme to improve the quality of bathing water at Bridlington’s beaches is due to begin.
The investment by Yorkshire Water is part of a wider £110m programme to make the waters off the Yorkshire Coast among the best in Europe.
Councillor Chad Chadwick said: “Yorkshire Water are doing this work and hopefully that will alleviate the problem that we have had. It’s an absolute shame for Bridlington and obviously we like to boast about our attractions and the beach is the main attraction. Yorkshire Water will help I’m sure to get our blue flag back.”
Darren Stevens, head of culture and information at East Riding of Yorkshire Council said the Council were disappointed to have lost the blue flag at South Beach but he has assured the public not to be put off.
“We would like to take this opportunity to reassure members of the public that the bathing water does meet the European mandatory standard for bathing water quality and that, while Bridlington South has lost its flag, Bridlington North, Withernsea and Hornsea’s Blue Flags continue to fly.”
Beaches are tested weekly and only lose their blue flag 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.
The summer’s record rainfall is thought to have been responsible for contaminating beaches, as it causes sewer overflow pipes to discharge untreated dilute sewage, along with agricultural run-off.
The Environment Agency’s water quality planning manager Dominic Shepherd said: “The unprecedented levels of rainfall in May and June have led to increased run-off and poorer bathing water quality at many of the region’s beaches.
“We have not found any specific pollution incidents, although the rainfall has increased background levels in the sea during the early part of the summer. As rainfall has reduced in July and August, we have seen an improvement in the good bathing water quality we normally see at Bridlington and other beaches along the coast.
“During last year’s dry summer, no bathing waters failed the quality standards. The Environment Agency has continued to monitor the bathing waters throughout the summer.
“We will be working with the local authorities to keep both them and the public up to date on the situation.”
Yorkshire Water is to hold a public drop-in event about the planned improvement works at the Spa Bridlington, next Thursday, September 27, from 3pm to 7pm. Staff from Yorkshire Water, specialist contractors and surveyors will be on hand to answer any questions about the scheme which will involve an 800 metre long storm water tunnel being constructed from Palace car park to the Promenade, and a new storm water pumping station being built on the Promenade.
Duncan Warner, Yorkshire Water project manager, said: “Investing in the highest standard of bathing water quality will bring a wide range of benefits to Bridlington.
“Of course this will mean some construction work in the short-term but we hope people will recognise the longer-term benefits of this scheme.”