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Bathing water testing starts in South West for summer

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: May 01, 2013

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Tests on the region's bathing waters will start today as the summer season begins.

Teams from the Environment Agency will assess the quality of the water at beaches throughout the Westcountry every week from May until the end of September.

Some 4,000 samples from 193 locations across the South West will be used to decide if the waters are safe to bathe, as well as to identify and investigate sources of pollution.

Authorities say the quality of the bathing waters in the Westcountry is "extremely high" with 98% of beaches meeting current standards.

Jonathan Ponting, of the Environment Agency, said: "Bathing water quality is tremendously good in the South West and has been for several years. But there is more work to do to drive further improvements so that beaches will meet the new tougher standards. We are focusing on those beaches which might struggle to meet the new targets and are working with water companies, local authorities and farmers to identify and tackle sources of pollution at all bathing sites."

Within the next two years England will have stricter water quality targets to achieve under the revised Bathing Water Directive. It will introduce a new classification scheme where beaches will be rated as excellent, good, sufficient or poor.

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