Wet weather dampens bathing water results
Despite being the wettest region in England and Wales this summer, 93.1% of the South West's bathing waters have still met EU standards.
During the summer, large parts of the region had 150% more rainfall than normal, which presented a significant challenge in protecting bathing water quality around the peninsula.
Stephen Bird, Operations Director, South West Water, said: "Without the support of our customers we couldn't have invested in the Clean Sweep infrastructure that has helped us cope so well with this summer's wet weather.
"Our focus for the future is making sure these assets are kept well maintained so that residents and visitors to the South West will experience the benefits of cleaner bathing waters for generations to come."
Malcolm Bell, Chief Executive of South West Tourism, said: 'We must remember the quality of our bathing waters has been transformed over the last 18 years thanks to South West Water's Clean Sweep programme. We have reached the point where we now highlight the rare failures, whereas before Clean Sweep we talked about how few made the standard."
South West Water is working closely with the Environment Agency to look at the challenge of climate change and how it can prepare for tighter EU regulations which come into force in 2015.
Notes to editors
- Clean Sweep was one of Europe's biggest environmental programmes and has closed over 250 crude sewage outfalls in the South West.
- Bathing water quality is monitored by the Environment Agency every year between May and September
- There are 144 designated bathing waters in the South West Water region covering Devon, Cornwall and Lyme Regis, Dorset
- In 2008, 134 or 93.1% met good (mandatory), 104 or 72.2% met excellent (guideline)
- Of the 64 bathing waters in Devon and Dorset, 59 or 92.2% met good (mandatory), 38 or 59.4% met excellent (guideline)
- Of the 80 bathing waters in Cornwall, 76 or 93.8% met good (mandatory), 66 or 82.5% met excellent (guideline)
- The bathing waters that failed to meet the mandatory standard in 2008 were: Instow, Exmouth, Combe Martin, Plymouth Hoe (East), Plymouth Hoe (West), Seaton (Cornwall), East Looe, Readymoney Cove, Porthluney and Rock
- Since 2001, at least 100 bathing waters consistently meet the 'excellent' quality standard, compared with just 38 before the impact of the Clean Sweep investment in 1991
- 2007 was the wettest summer on record. Given this year's wet summer as well, the Clean Sweep investment has been tested in the extreme two years in a row and still 9 out of 10 bathing waters meet the 'good' standard and 7 out of 10 meet 'excellent'
- Total rainfall in the South West during the bathing water season was 603mm
Published: 13 November 2008