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2002-06-20 19:59:53
Water Quality OK at local beaches

Beaches the length of the North West coastline have been given the thumbs up by the latest European Commission report on the quality of bathing water.

The findings have been warmly welcomed by the region's Liberal Democrat Euro-MP Chris Davies, who says that concerted action both in Brussels and locally has led to huge improvements in the past few years.

The EU directive on bathing water quality was adopted over twenty-five years ago in an attempt to safeguard public health, as poorly treated human or animal waste ending up in water used for swimming can cause illnesses such as gastro-enteritis or breathing problems.

Now the Commission produces a yearly report so that people can find out the latest beach quality statistics before taking their holidays.

This year's report shows that thirty-two of thirty-six beaches in the North West met required levels of cleanliness in 2001, compared to just ten a decade ago. And this year over a quarter of the region's beaches were shown to have exceeded higher 'guideline' quality levels.

Across Europe some 97% of coastal beaches achieved the mandatory standards in 2001, compared to 93% of inland sites. In the UK as a whole the compliance rate for coastal areas rose from 94.4% to 95.3%, and the success rate for fresh water sites hit 100% for the first time in four years.

Chris Davies, who is the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman in Brussels, says that measures taken to improve water quality over the last few years are now really starting to produce results.

"The world is facing appalling environmental degradation and widespread loss of important species, but these figures are a great boost for everyone involved in trying to improve the state of our beaches, and they show just how much can be achieved in a relatively short space of time," he said.

"European agreement on directives such as this gives a great incentive to all countries involved to raise their standards, as no-one wants to be seen to be bottom of the league.

"But we mustn't get complacent," he added. "There is still work to be done in some areas, and the goal must be to try to make sure that every beach in the region is 100% safe as soon as possible."

Article submitted by A.Cutting on behalf of Chris Davies MEP
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