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North Norfolk beaches beat the rain!

PUBLISHED: 07:59 23 May 2008 | UPDATED: 08:58 13 July 2010

Beaches across Norfolk and Suffolk slightly improved their cleanliness in the last year, bucking a national trend which saw heavy rain last summer lead to a record drop in the number of UK beaches receiving top ratings for water quality.

Beaches across Norfolk and Suffolk slightly improved their cleanliness in the last year, bucking a national trend which saw heavy rain last summer lead to a record drop in the number of UK beaches receiving top ratings for water quality.

The Marine Conservation Society has just published its Good Beach Guide 2008, which gives a good indication of how clean the water is at beaches around the country.

In north Norfolk of the four beaches tested, three scored top marks and only Sheringham dropped down the scale, although it managed to retain a basic pass.

The picture across the UK is very different, with a 10pc fall in the number of bathing spots recommended for excellent wat er water quality on sewage, street debris and animal waste swept down to the sea by the storms last er quality because of pollution washed down by the heavy rains.

The fall is the biggest year-on-year drop in numbers receiving the top rating in the guide's 21-year history.

The MCS has blamed the low summer, as the latest guide is based on measurements taken between May and September 2007.

The society has warned climate change is predicted to bring a growing number of severe summer storms that could increase pollution around the UK's coasts.

Thomas Bell, the society's coastal pollution officer, said: “We are pinning the blame squarely on last summer's exceptionally bad weather.

“Not all beaches are affected but the problem for swimmers is knowing when and where this has happened.”

Mr Bell said poor quality bathing water carried health risks: “If this summer is wet, I'd advise people to use the Good Beach Guide, pick bathing beaches with a good record, and stay out of the sea for at least 24 hours after heavy storms.”

Hilary Nelson, North Norfolk District Council's cabinet member for tourism, said the results in the district were good news other than at Sheringham.

“But we know that was down to the weather, so we hope to be back up again next year,” added Mrs Nelson.

Well known beaches which fell off the recommended list this year include surfing hotspots Croyde and Saunton Sands in North Devon, and Southend's Three Shells and Thorpe Bay in Essex.

t For more information on beaches around the UK, visit www.goodbeachguide.co.uk

Recommended means the highest water quality standard and good treatment of any continuous sewage discharges

Basic pass means the site has passed an EC mandatory standard for water quality

Fail means the mandatory standard has not been reached

* Sea Palling, Mundesley and Cromer kept their recommended status, while Sheringham dropped to basic pass.

The nearest failures to Norfolk and Suffolk were Ingoldmells South in Lincolnshire and the Jubilee beach in Southend-on-Sea.

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