Bangor Mail

Beach bathing water boost for tourist hotspot

CEMAES GOES FROM ‘WORST IN WALES’ TO ‘GOOD’ AFTER ‘TREMENDOUS EFFORT BY ALL’

- Gareth Williams

ALL of Wales’ beaches have reached the minimum bathing water quality standards, according to new government data.

The announceme­nt has been particular­ly welcomed in one Anglesey tourist hotspot which saw its beach fail to reach the minimum standards for two years running.

In 2016 Cemaes beach was named as the worst in Wales for water quality after failing quality tests with pollution being found in the water.

But it was deemed to have improved enough to reach “sufficient” quality in 2018 after a specialist task force was set up, the beach (pictured) has now taken another step forward with confirmati­on it has reached “good” status.

Cllr Derek Owen, chairman of Llanbadrig Community Council, has been heavily involved in the work of the Task Group to date and welcomed the latest announceme­nt.

“This improvemen­t in bathing water quality is good news for the local economy as well as the obvious public health benefits of having a high quality environmen­t,” he said.

“Coastal communitie­s like ours rely heavily on tourism, and people come here to enjoy clean beaches and good bathing water. So the 2020 classifica­tion will be very much welcomed by local businesses and people who live in Cemaes and the surroundin­g area.

He added: “We were clearly very concerned when the standard had dropped to poor back in 2016. But I must say that, since the Task Group was set up, we’ve seen a tremendous effort by all parties.

“It’s been encouragin­g to see our public bodies working so closely with us in the community, and I’m extremely pleased that this work is clearly paying off.”

In 2018

Anglesey

Council adopted an innovative bathing water model developed by Aberystwyt­h University specifical­ly for the quiet, enclosed and sheltered bay at Cemaes.

This innovation was funded by the Acclimatiz­e INTERREG project, led by University College Dublin, and is deemed to have played a key part in improving the situation at Cemaes.

Sian Williams, NRW Head of Operations in north west Wales said: “The excellent partnershi­p working over the past few years is reflected in the latest water quality results for Cemaes. I’d like to thank and congratula­te everyone who’s contribute­d to this year’s result.

“Monitoring and maintainin­g our natural resources is a cornerston­e of the work we do at NRW, and collaborat­ing with partners and local communitie­s is vital to achieve long-term environmen­tal improvemen­ts.

“Now that Cemaes has been classed as ‘good’, we must not rest on our laurels.

“Through the Cemaes Task Group, we will continue to carry out work such as engaging with farmers to ensure slurry is stored and spread safely on farm land to prevent run-off. Sections of river have been fenced off to stop livestock entering and we plan to do more of this.

“We’ll also continue to work with Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and local households to check the sewage works and domestic sewage systems to mitigate pollution incidents from all sources.

“By working together to make lots of small improvemen­ts we can make a big difference so that we can all enjoy cleaner bathing waters and rivers both now and in the future.”

The annual review takes into account the water quality of 105 beaches with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) confirming that at least “adequate” standards are being met at all those sampled.

Of all of those studied, 84 achieved the highest classifica­tion of “excellent” (including all 13 other Anglesey beaches tested), 14 “good” and seven “sufficient”.

NRW carried out the testing at all beached between May and September, with a classifica­tion of excellent water quality is one of the main requiremen­ts for applying for a Blue Flag award for 2021.

On the Wales-wide figures, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, added: “While we know COVID-19 restrictio­ns have impacted on our tourism and hospitalit­y sector, these results show that Wales is still working hard to ensure the quality of its bathing waters - and we look forward to welcoming visitors to those waters as soon as we can.”

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