Three beaches on crest of wave
THREE beaches near Weston-super-Mare have made it into this year's Good Beach Guide.
Sand Bay, to the north of the town, and Brean, pictured, and Berrow to the south have all been rated as having 'excellent' water quality in the 2012 guide, published today by the Marine Conservation Society.
This year the guide has recommended 516 out of 754 UK bathing beaches – the highest number in the guide's 25 year history.
The south west was one of best performing regions with 154 out of 193 – 80 per cent – of beaches meeting the MCS criteria for excellent water quality.
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Each summer water quality is assessed at popular beaches across the UK which have been designated as bathing waters under the European Bathing Water Directive.
The tests are carried out between mid May and September and samples are taken once a week and tested for bacteria, which indicate the presence of pollution from sewage and animal waste. From this summer bathing waters will have to meet even tougher tests under the revised Bathing Water Directive, which replaces the current standards with far more stringent ones from 2015.
Beaches which continually fail to meet the standards could be closed to swimmers.
MSC coastal pollution officer, Rachel Wyatt, said the latest figures were a boost for tourism but added: "It's really important that local authorities, water companies and environmental regulators don't become complacent and take their collective feet off the pedal of continued environmental improvements."