NORTH Somerset Council has said it will continue to work to improve water quality following the publication of bathing water classifications in the region.

Published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the report is based on samples taken by the Environment Agency between May and September every year.

The water quality at Sand Bay and Weston's Main beach is recorded as 'poor', the same as last year.

The bathing water quality at Uphill has dropped from 'sufficient' to 'poor' this year.

Nevertheless, the water quality at Clevedon remains 'good'.

The council, which is part of a Bathing Water Steering Group, will join forces with partners such as the Environment Agency and Wessex Water to tackle the cause of the poor samples.

Cllr James Clayton, North Somerset Council’s executive member with responsibility for environmental protection, said: “I’m really pleased that Clevedon has continued to meet DEFRA standards.

"Obviously, it’s disappointing to hear about Uphill but we’ll continue doing everything we can to make sure everyone can enjoy our beaches, seafront and bathing waters.”

North Somerset Council’s director of Public Health, Matt Lenny, said: "We have an active signage system in place at Weston’s Main beach which uses a prediction forecast to let swimmers know if there’s potential for lower water quality in real time."

Ruth Barden, director of Environmental Solutions for Wessex Water, added: “While we do have two storm overflows that could possibly affect water quality at Weston Uphill and Weston Main beaches, one did not operate at all and the other operated just three times during the bathing water season during wet weather, releasing predominantly rainwater.

"Samples taken after one of these discharges showed the results for Uphill and Main were ‘Excellent’ and ‘Good’, so this is unlikely to have impacted bathing water quality."

Jim Flory, Wessex Area Environment manager at the Environment Agency, said: "We do know at different times the beaches can be impacted by sources as diverse as agriculture, surface water run-off from the town and bird and dog faeces."

Cllr James Clayton added: “All of us have a part to play in improving water quality. For example, putting litter in the bin or taking it home to dispose of properly, only taking dogs to areas where they’re allowed and always cleaning up after them and not flushing inappropriate items down the loo, which ultimately blocks sewers and causes them to overflow.”