People warned not to swim off Weston-super-Mare's main beach after 'sewage debris' found

PUBLISHED: 11:00 23 November 2018

Weston's main beach. Photo: Terry Kelly

Weston's main beach. Photo: Terry Kelly

(c) copyright newzulu.com

People have been warned not to swim in the water off Weston beach, after 'sewage debris' was found during inspections.

The quality of the water has also been given a ‘poor’ rating by the Environment Agency following analysis of samples taken between 2015 and 2018.

Debbie Apted, a member of Weston’s Cleaner Coastlines group, says she was ‘surprised’ and ‘disappointed’ by the result.

She said: “This issue must be addressed. Our sewers were built in the Victorian era and not designed to be blocked with plastic items, many of which we find on our beach cleans.

“The main culprits we come across are cotton bud sticks – hundreds of them, wipes and tampon applicators.

“It is vital to get the message across that we must not use our toilets as bins.”

Cllr Peter Bryant, the council’s executive member for the environment, says he is ‘concerned’ by the deterioration of the water quality off Weston’s main beach.

He said: “It is hard to achieve good ratings in estuarine water, and small changes in readings can impact ratings.

“We’re determined to do our bit to improve water quality and we call on our residents, businesses and visitors to do the same to help us keep our bathing waters clean for everyone to enjoy.”

The report found ‘sewage debris’ was visible during seven per cent of visits, with litter visible during 85 per cent of visits.

The bathing water off Burnham Jetty, a few miles south of Weston, also received a ‘poor’ rating.

Despite the bad news for Weston beach, water quality ratings have improved in neighbouring areas.

Waters off Clevedon, Sand Bay and Berrow were were found to have improved, receiving ‘good’ ratings in the latest test.

Water off Uphill Beach, south of Weston, also received a ‘sufficient’ rating – representing another improvement.

The ratings will remain in place until the Environment Agency conducts its next investigation at the end of 2019.

North Somerset Council said, despite the deterioration in water quality, the beach was still open for a full range of activities.

To read the finding in full, visit www.environment.data.gov.uk/bwq/profiles

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