East Yorkshire beaches may lose Blue Flags in 2013
EAST Yorkshire's beaches could be stripped of their Blue Flag next year when tougher new standards are introduced.
Bridlington's South Beach has already lost the coveted status after heavy summer rain caused sewers to overflow into the sea.
However, the Environment Agency, which provides the data to administer the Blue Flag scheme, has warned Bridlington North, Hornsea and Withernsea currently fail to meet the new standard of bathing water quality required for the award, which comes into place next year.
Lee Pitcher, manager of treatment at Yorkshire Water, which is investing £110m to improve sewerage systems on the coast, said: "We're playing our part in making sure Yorkshire's beaches can meet bathing water standards in the future.
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"While we're disappointed that results suggest there's the potential for fewer Blue Flags next year, our focus is on delivering our £110m of improvements to local sewerage systems on the coast.
"Our improvements are already under way in Scarborough and we'll start work in Bridlington this autumn as well as £5m of investment at other beaches.
"We've always planned for our work to be completed by April 2014 before the official European revised standards come into force."
Keep Britain Tidy, which administers the Blue Flag status in England for the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), had asked the FEE to hold off the new standards until new EU directive comes into force in 2015.
However, with the majority of Europe having already adhered to the new standards of bathing standards, the deadline for the changes to achieve the Blue Flag status was recently changed to next year.
Nigel Leighton, director of environment and neighbourhood services at East Riding Council, said: "The council can reassure members of the public the waters along the East Riding coastline are safe and enjoyable for bathing.
"The council recognises the importance and prestige associated with Blue Flags and is confident that the works currently being undertaken by the partnership will help the authority achieve Blue Flag status in the future.
"The council will pursue the Quality Coast Awards for its resort beaches, an award that showcases the beaches as among the best in the country."