Environment secretary vows to fight for Somerset

Burnham jetty.

Burnham jetty. - Credit: Archant

ENVIRONMENT secretary Liz Truss visited Somerset and promised to take up worries over potential upcoming tourism issues in the area.

Concerns have been raised over potential sanctions against Burnham and the quality of its sea water, which will be measured by new EU legislation to be introduced later this year.

Sanctions could follow if it is found to be of a low standard, including a ban on bathing or signs being displayed warning tourists about the dangers.

Moves have been announced by Wessex Water and the Environment Agency to improve the situation – but these could take years to come into effect.

Mrs Truss visited Burnham last week to discuss the situation, meeting with prospective parliamentary candidate James Heappey, and promised to hold talks with the Environment Agency to enquire how best any potential problem the new directive may cause can be best addressed.

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Mrs Truss also spoke with local business leaders and said she would look to help Somerset further promote itself to the outside world.

Mr Heappey said: “Alongside farming and food manufacturing, tourism is the key industry here in Somerset.

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“Last year, the tourism industry was worth £1.3billion and supported around 34,000 jobs in the county.

“Whether it be beating water issues, threats to the local countryside or helping with marketing our county to the outside world, I will seek to engage central government to make sure that our local tourism industry drives further growth in the economy over the next few years.”

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