The Marine Conservation Society is recommending more beaches than ever in the South West of
England this year with 173 out of 195 (88.7%) receiving the top standard for excellent water

Called "good news" after the region was particularly hard hit by the wet weather
experienced in summer 2012 which led to a lower number of beaches being recommended.

Thanks to the much drier summer in 2013 there was been a reduction in the
number of beaches failing to meet the minimum standard – from 16 (8.2%) to one (0.5%).

Dartmouth Castle and Sugary Cove, which is a designated bathing water, has not been
assessed for water quality due to insufficient sampling in 2013 because access to the beach was closed during part of the summer for repairs.

Nationally a record number of UK bathing beaches received  the marine charity’s top water quality award after the driest summer since 2003.

The ‘Good Beach Guide’, was launched online today, Tuesday, April 15 by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

MCS Coastal Pollution Officer, Rachel Wyatt, says she hopes the latest figures will be a boost to UK tourism after several previously wet summers which led to a drop in bathing water quality from pollution running into the sea from rural and urban areas and overloaded sewers.

“It’s great news that we are able to recommend more beaches than ever for excellent water quality and it shows just how good British beaches can be,” says Rachel Wyatt.

“The main challenge now is maintaining these standards, whatever the weather.

Most people don’t realise what a big impact the weather can have on bathing water quality, but this has really been highlighted in the last few years.

By the end of the 2015 bathing season, all designated bathing waters must meet the new
minimum ‘Sufficient’ standard due to the revised EU Bathing Water Directive.

This will be around twice as stringent as the current minimum standard and means that some beaches will need to do more to make the grade in the future which could include reducing pollution from sewage discharges, agricultural run-off and urban diffuse pollution, fixing mis-connected sewers and putting in place more steps to help dog owners clean up after their pets.

Beaches which don’t meet the ‘sufficient’ standard at the end of 2015 will have to display
signs warning against bathing in the sea from the start of the bathing season in 2016.