Hidden beneath reports of deep cuts to Greater Manchester Police and Ireland’s latest debt crisis was the welcome news, yesterday, that a record number of UK beaches are exceeding EU standards. Defra, water companies and related government agencies have already congratulated themselves on the increase of UK beaches attaining the European guideline standards.
I’m skeptical of the whole charade. Self regulation often leads to agencies white-washing reports and ignoring the broader picture. Our beaches are not much better than they were 30 years ago. The water companies surely do not believe their own press.
After all, the latest findings on the health of UK beaches are measured against standards set in 1976! Clearly, we need to update the benchmark. The 1976 quality standards are outdated and do not provide a level of protection for beach users anywhere near good enough.
The fact that 16 beaches failed to even reach the 1976 standards is shocking. There is a long way to go before we can believe the hype of reports such as the one released yesterday.