Hartlepool’s beaches have been given the thumbs-up in the latest ratings.
The town’s bathing waters are among 33 across the North East labelled either ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ in the latest classifications announced by Defra.
Twenty-four of the region’s bathing waters have met the ‘Excellent’ standard, including Crimdon, Seaton Carew (Centre), and Seaton Carew (North Gare), while Seaton Carew (North) is among nine ranked as ‘Good.’
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill said: “It’s great news that the bathing waters around Seaton are constantly now proving to be excellent overall; both Seaton and the North Gare attract hundreds of people each year because of water quality, clean beaches and attractive environment.
“This award is testimony to those charged with looking after our coastal waters, to the many many environmental activists and volunteers in the area and, of course, to the swimmers, bathers and beach users themselves.
“It’s a great achievement all round.”
North East bathing waters which have achieved the ‘excellent’ standard are Bamburgh Castle, Seahouses North, Beadnell, Newbiggin North, Low Newton, Warkworth, Amble Links, Druridge Bay North, Druridge Bay South, Newbiggin South, Blyth South, Seaton Sluice, Whitley Bay, Tynemouth Longsands North, Tynemouth Longsands South, Tynemouth King Edwards Bay, Seaburn, Roker, Seaham, Marske Sands and Saltburn, while Marsden, Spittal, South Shields, Seaham Hall, Redcar Coatham, Redcar Lifeboat Station, Redcar Granville and Redcar Stray were rated ‘Good.’
Cullercoats, on North Tyneside, is the only bathing water area in the North East not to pass the standards. An investigation is under way to establish why water quality in the area has deteriorated.
The rating is based on the current and previous three years of samples taken by the Environment Agency between May and September each year.
Northumbrian Water’s Wastewater Director, Richard Warneford, said: “With more than two decades of investment having gone into improving bathing waters across the North East, it is very pleasing to see that 33 of our region’s 34 bathing waters have received ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ status for the 2019 season.
“We know that work to enhance areas of our network, such as storm water storage facilities, and to divert surface water away from sewers through our Rainwise initiative, will have had a positive impact on these results and we will continue to drive improvements.
“At the turn of the century, the North East had only four bathing waters that achieved the standards in place at the time, so it’s plain to see how far we have come and these results are something we and our partners can be proud of - the North East is a fantastic place for a visit to the beach.
“At Northumbrian Water, we place the environment at the heart of everything we do, so we are very proud of the partnership work and investment that has led to today’s results and to making our beaches great places to visit.”
Fiona Morris, Environment Manager at the Environment Agency in the North East, added: “The North East remains a real success story of drastic improvements over the past 30 years. In 1988, nearly half of our bathing waters failed to meet mandatory standards and now almost all of them are good or excellent.”