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Time running out to save Sedgemoor sea
TIME is running out for people who visit one of Bridgwater's nearest beaches to ensure its sea water does not lead to a bathing ban under new regulations.
Councillors have been warned that when a tough EU water directive comes into effect in 2015, Burnham beach would be rated 'poor' - with signs put up advising people not to go in the sea.
At a meeting with Burnham and Highbridge town councillors, the Environment Agency's environment manager, Jim Flory, said Burnham's water quality would currently be classed as “borderline poor” if it were studied today under the new guidelines.
He added that under the new directive, if there was no improvement of a 'poor' rating, a ban on bathing in that area could come into force.
Highbridge and Burnham councillor Helen Groves said: “The new regulations will mean beaches like Burnham, which could see heavy rains wash bacteria from the land into the sea, will likely be classified as 'poor'.
“The quality of the water won't be getting worse. It will still be suitable for bathing. But when the new directive comes in we will be obligated to put signs up warning people not to swim.
“It's going to confuse a lot of people using the beach and potentially push away tourists.”
Cllr Groves has suggested putting up additional signs explaining the new directive and letting tourists know the water is still safe under the old directive.
As reported, Berrow and Burnham beaches both received cleanliness awards this year in the form of Keep Britain Tidy's Seaside Award flag, which recognises the highest standards of beach management.
People who use Burnham beach are being encouraged to do all they can to improve the water quality, such as not letting their dogs foul and making sure their waste plumbing is done correctly.
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