One of the UK’s best waves also happens to be one of Europe’s worst bathing waters. Staithes, a small village on the North East coast, consistently fails the Bathing Water Directive’s water quality standards.
This year the directive is updated with more stringent water quality standards. The response to this challenge for the relevant authorities is to apply to de-designate Staithes (and Newhaven in East Sussex and Church Cliff Beach, Lyme Regis in Dorset). Because, if these beaches aren’t designated bathing waters, they can’t fail the EU Bathing Water Directive.
Whilst some people might admire the lateral thinking to ‘solve’ the water quality problems that have dogged Staithes for many years, the serious implications for water users’ health prove this to be a totally feckless and irresponsible strategy. If Staithes is no longer a designated bathing water, it will lose the most effective legal driver for implementing water quality improvements. The seawater will no longer be tested for indicators of human sewage or diffuse pollution. The problems currently impacting Staithes will be allowed to get worse, unchecked.
We are inviting you to support our calls to keep Staithes a designated bathing water and to challenge the relevant authorities to improve water quality at Staithes!
Your support needs to be in the form of a short consultation response. It’s only 5 questions and 3 of those are 1) name, 2) email address and 3) organisation (don’t worry if you’re not responding on behalf of an organisation, just put “bather” or leave blank). The whole consultation can be completed and submitted in less a minute. To speed up the process we’ve included some guidance on the only 2 questions focused on de-designation.
Q 4. Do you support the proposal to de-designate this bathing water? NO!
Q 5. You may provide further information:
Question 5 is voluntary, you are welcome to copy and paste our response below, draft your own response or leave this section blank:
It’s important improvements are made to the water quality at Staithes as I regularly use the bathing water area. I understand that Staithes consistently fails water quality standards and if Staithes is de-designated as a bathing water, the opportunities to drive improvements in the water quality will be dramatically reduced.
The consultation closes on 30th September, so register your concerns today!
As the new stringent bathing water standards will result in more beaches failing the Bathing Water Directive we believe more local authorities will use de-designation as a ‘solution’ to their water quality problems. Always inform SAS if your local bathing water is put up for de-designation. Similar consultations are open for Newhaven in East Sussex and at Church Cliff Beach, Lyme Regis in Dorset until 30th September and our guidance above can help you with the consultations.
Please remember, Staithes is an expert only wave, with a cramp and over subscribed take off spot. If you are lucky enough to visit Staithes and sample the waves, remember don’t swallow the water and always respect the locals!
Staithes is known as one of the worst bathing waters in Europe and desperately needs improving, not de-designating and forgotten about. It's vital that the community takes action now to ensure they don't lose their best weapon to fight pollution.
Andy Cummins, SAS Campaigns Director