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Beach lovers will benefit from better information on water quality

Beach profiles for bathing waters in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have been published by the relevant environmental agency. The profiles provide useful information to the beach-going public.

Beach profiles are a requirement of the revised Bathing Water Directive which is being implemented in stages between now and 2015 to replace the original 1976 Directive. The revised system requires beaches to meet a higher standard of water quality to protect water users' health.

The new profiles will include a description of the beach, the quality of bathing water, potential pollution sources and a summary of measures being taken to improve water standards.

MCS welcomes the new profiles which allow beach users to make more informed decisions about where and when to use the water - something MCS has been campaigning for and supplying to the public for more than 20 years through it's Good Beach Guide.

Each profile has been written by the relevant environmental agency and includes a map marking the location of the water sampling point and any discharge pipes which may be visible at the beach.

MCS Coastal Pollution Officer, Rachel Wyatt, says any help for bathers is a good thing;  "This move is good progress in our campaign to see combined sewer overflow pipes mapped and monitored so that their contribution to bad water quality can be fully understood and the public informed in real time if a discharge has occurred."

The MCS Good Beach Guide 2011 will be published in May and promises to be better and more informative than ever. The guide will include MCS beach recommendations and descriptions from all over the UK.

The Environment Agency for England and Wales will review and update their bathing water profiles by May 2012. The public can help by providing feedback and comments using the email link at the top of each profile between now and 30 September 2011.

To see Beach Profiles for your part of the UK click the relevant link below:  

Scotland; http://www.sepa.org.uk/water/bathing_waters/bathing_water_profiles.aspx

Northern Ireland; http://www.doeni.gov.uk/niea/water-home/quality/bathingqualityni/bathing_water_profiles.htm

England and Wales; http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/recreation/127626.aspx

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