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Beach to be downgraded
6:00pm Thursday 24th October 2013 in News
A WEST Dorset seaside resort could lose one of its designated bathing beaches as water tests become stricter.
Continued poor performance from Church Cliff Beach in Lyme Regis could see it lose its prized status as a bathing beach as EU water sampling tests become much stricter.
That was the warning from Brian Grant from the Environment Agency who was giving a presentation on the revised EU water bathing directive to the Lyme town council tourism and economic development committee meeting.
The agency focuses its tests on the levels of e-Coli G and intertestinal enterococci G in the water. In the past there have been mandatory and guideline tests on water quality.
Interim results released in August by the Environment Agency showed Church Cliff failed the new, stricter guideline tests.
Under the revised directive, a new classification scheme is being introduced so that beaches are either poor, sufficient, good, or excellent and will be judged over a rolling four year period.
Latest predictions show Church Cliff will be ‘poor’ for the first year. If the beach continues to perform badly over a five year period it could end up being de-designated, meaning the Environment Agency would no longer sample the water and a permanent sign would be installed to inform bathers of the poor quality.
Coun Mark Gage said the town council was strongly against the de-designation of Church Cliff.
Coun Gage said: “The position we are in as a town council is that we feel very strongly that Church Cliff is a viable beach and we are not in favour of the proposed de-designation. The coastal works are excellent and we are very lucky to have them.”