Clean sweep for 'excellent' Teignbridge beaches

Swimming spots in Teignbridge have all reached ‘excellent’ bathing water quality standards.

Visitors to Teignbridge will be able to enjoy swimming in cleaner water than ever before thanks to huge strides made to improve water quality.

Teignbridge has welcomed the 2017 results of water testing at more than 400 outdoor swimming spots in England – called bathing waters - published today by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

This is great news for beach-goers and a major success for Teignmouth Town Beach which has improved from ‘sufficient’ in 2015 to top marks in the space of only two years.

The improvements have been helped by the long-running Love Your Beach* campaign which brought together a range of organisations with the common cause of solving causes of reduced water quality and raising standards at Teignmouth.

Today's news has been welcomed by many, from organisations involved to those who swim in the sea on a regular basis.

Ruth Smyth-Bonfield, founder of Wild Swimming Teignbridge, said: "Teignmouth is one of Wild Swimming Teignbridge's favourite outdoor swimming spots as the water is usually very clear (we have spotted starfish, bass, the occasional seal and dolphins on our swims) and its sandy beach is easy on our bare feet. There's a lot going on in the sea most of the year and our group regularly bumps into triathletes, surf life savers, kayakers and rowers, all making the most of the length of the beach as a great place for distance training."

Cllr Phil Bullivant, Teignbridge District Council’s Executive member for Recreation and Leisure, said: “The beach is a great place to be at any time of the year and I am delighted to see that Teignbridge’s bathing waters have been awarded these results for the 2017 season.

“Teignmouth in particular has benefited from significant investment resulting in massive improvements to bathing waters and this is something we are really proud of. Back in 2014 it was at risk of being classed as poor and now it’s been awarded Excellent, the highest, cleanest class so this is really fantastic news.

“Bathing water standards need constant attention so there’s always more work to be done. We’ll keep working to improve our environment and make sure people who live and visit can enjoy keep enjoying them.”

Cllr Sylvia Russell, Teignbridge District Council's Executive member for Health and Wellbeing and ward member for Teignmouth East, said: "This is a brilliant result for Teignmouth. To achieve an 'excellent' rating justifies the hard work put in by so many people. The decision to extend the closure period of the Upper Den carriageway has ensured our bathing waters were able to meet such a high standard. Together with the promotional publicity around dog fouling and littering, the public have taken these messages on board and we are grateful to everyone who has made this possible."

Alan Hyde, Head of Community Relations at South West Water, said: “We are delighted that Teignmouth has been classified as ‘excellent’ this year. In 2014/15 we invested £671,000 to help improve bathing water quality at Teignmouth. This included constructing a 500 cubic metre underground storage tank in Teignmouth station car park, which has reduced the number of storm discharges from the sewerage network during extremely wet weather.

“We remain committed to working with other organisations and the local community through the Love Your Beach group to protect bathing water quality in Teignmouth as part of a team effort.”

Bruce Newport, Area Environment Manger at the Environment Agency, said: “It’s been another good year for bathing waters across the South West and fantastic news that Teignmouth has reached 'excellent' along with the other bathing waters in Teignbridge. By working with partners and the local community it shows what can be achieved to protect our beaches.”

Tracy Scranage, Town Centre Development Manager for Teignmouth and Dawlish, said: “I am delighted with this year’s water quality results. It has been a real team effort and Teignmouth is heading in the right direction with its water quality. We must not sit back and think job done, we all need to do our bit and make sure that we clean up after our dogs and make sure we don’t leave food around for the seagulls. We must of course thank the public for helping us achieve a fantastic result. Please keep up the good work everyone!"

Teignmouth Harbourmaster and Chairman of Teign Estuary and Coastal Partnership Commander David Vaughan, said: "The Love Your Beach group and Teign Estuary and Coastal Partnership are great mechanisms to get the various agencies working together to help improve water quality. Everyone’s individual efforts and actions have played, and continue to play, a vital part in bathing water improvements. We should all be proud of our coasts and estuaries and the part we play in looking after them."

In Teignbridge the classifications are as follows:

Dawlish Warren - excellent
Dawlish Town - excellent
Dawlish Coryton Cove - excellent
Teignmouth Holcombe - excellent
Teignmouth Town - excellent
Shaldon - excellent
Ness Cove - excellent

The results are based on weekly water sampling by the Environment Agency who visit each bathing water beach from May to September every year to see what levels of bacteria are present in the water.

Everyone can check the water quality standards for the local beach on the new Bathing Water Explorer website: http://environment.data.gov.uk/bwq/profiles/