Beaches given the thumbs up

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FOUR beaches in the Hartlepool area tested as part of a national cleanliness guide have all passed with flying colours.

Seaton Carew’s North Gare, centre and north beaches, along with Crimdon beach, have all been listed in the prestigious Good Beach Guide as being recommended as having “excellent water quality” which is suitable for bathing.

The town’s Headland beaches were not tested as part of the survey.

The results formed part of a regional table which showed that in the North-East area this year, experts tested 64 beaches and 53 were recommended - meaning 83 per cent of beaches tested were suitable.

This is a rise on last year’s figures when just 70 per cent of beaches made the grade - out of 64 beaches examined, just 53 were recommended.

The good Beach Guide tests, carried out by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), are done on a weekly basis during the bathing season – mid-May to September – to look for the presence of bacteria from sewage and animal waste.

MCS coastal pollution officer, Rachel Wyatt, said: “This is a milestone for coastal resorts like Hartlepool to be proud of. It’s really important that local authorities, water companies and environmental regulators don’t become complacent and take their feet off the pedal of continued environmental improvements.

“If that happens we could see a drop in the number of beaches recommended by us in the future, which could pose a risk to the great reputation that British beaches have.”

Nationally the MCS has recommended 516 out of 754 of UK bathing beaches this year – eight more than last year and the best in the Guide’s 25-year history. More stringent measures are to be implemented in 2015.