MP pledges to help resort threatened with seawater blacklist

PUBLISHED: 09:00 10 June 2014 | UPDATED: 09:03 10 June 2014

Tessa Munt

Tessa Munt

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PEOPLE are ‘rightly concerned’ about the prospect of EU sanctions at Burnham beach under new stringent water quality controls, according to the area’s MP.

Burnham has been listed as one of 45 beaches in the UK which could fall foul of the new rules, under which a ban on swimming could be implemented in a worst-case scenario.

Wells MP Tessa Munt told the Mercury she has been in contact with the minister responsible and would make sure others were kept in the loop.

She said: “People are rightly concerned and it’s vital that everything be done to bring about a sensible solution.

“I have been in touch with my colleague Dan Rogerson, the minister responsible for water issues, to request a meeting on this issue at his earliest convenience. I will, of course, ensure ministers are fully briefed.”

At a meeting last month, Burnham and Highbridge town councillors expressed their unease over the potential impact any punitive measures could have on the area, following the publication of an Environment Agency report which suggested it could take up to five years for things to improve.

In April, the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Beach Guide rated Burnham as ‘mandatory’, the second lowest of four available grades, due to the standard of the resort’s sea water.

Councillor Louise Parkin, who runs Burnham Pier’s pavilion, said ‘certain things’ were already being done to enhance the area’s water quality.

She said: “The plant at Highbridge is treating its water with ultraviolet light which should, to an extent, help the problem.

“We don’t have the money to bring any of the existing work forward but, to the best of my knowledge, everything is on track for completion in 2016. We are having to jump through hoops in this situation, but if we can improve the water we should.”

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