Councillor Thomas Threlfall, Chairman of the Environment, Health and Housing Committee said:
“We are aware of several reports that have been issued this week explaining that St Annes Beach has been deemed unsuitable for bathing.
“We would like to ensure that it is made clear that the affected beach was that at St Annes North, and that the BBC North West Tonight segment that explained that it was the beach ‘from Lytham to Blackpool’ was factually incorrect.”
“The bathing water quality at St Annes Pier has consistently remained ‘good’, once again receiving a Seaside Award for 2022 for cleanliness by Environmental Charity Keep Britain Tidy.
Councillor Threlfall added:
“At the most recent meeting of the Environment, Health and Housing Committee, bathing water quality in St Annes was discussed and it was recognised that St Annes North had been classified as satisfactory for the previous 3 years. Fylde Council and the Environment Agency (EA) share concerns with regards to the lack of improvement with respect to St Annes North. However, the bathing water quality at St Annes Pier is noted to be good, as has been the case for the last several years. Fylde Council continues to work closely with both the EA and United Utilities (UU) to understand the reasons for the classification for St Annes North and further testing is scheduled to determine why, and how we can look to improve the quality here.
“Findings will be brought to the next Committee meeting in June, and we will look to implement proactive improvements by working closely with our partners. We have invited United Utilities to discuss these issues”.
A spokesperson for the Environment Agency added:
“We would like to reassure concerned members of the public that the coastal bathing waters in St Annes meet bathing water quality standards. Recently published data widely circulated by Business Waste does not give a realistic picture of bathing water quality. The data does not use the formally adopted method for rating the quality of bathing waters in England and the rankings published by Business Waste should be treated with caution.
“In 2021, 99% of bathing waters met the minimum standard of Sufficient, with 94.7% meeting the highest standards of Good and Excellent.”
“The EA’s Swimfo website allows bathers to check information on over 400 bathing waters in England.”
- Each year, Defra publishes the annual classifications for designated bathing waters in England. The classifications give an overall assessment of water quality based on data provided by the Environment Agency and are produced according to the Bathing Water Regulations.
- Bathing water classifications provide an overall indication of quality at designated bathing waters, allowing people to see trends and make comparisons between locations.
- Bathing water classifications for 2021 can be found here – Bathing water classifications 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- The 2021 Bathing Water Classifications are based on data from 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021.
- The EA’s Swimfo website allows bathers to check information on over 400 bathing waters in England. Search Swimfo or go to https://environment.data.gov.uk/bwq/profiles/
- An annual classification gives an overall assessment of water quality, but daily fluctuations in water quality can and do occur. Where these are influenced by factors such as the weather or tide, the EA makes pollution risk forecasts (PRF) at sites where it is possible to do so. This lets bathers know when a temporary reduction in water quality is likely, so they can make informed decisions before deciding whether to bathe on a given day.