Local resident wins campaign for bathing status for Penarth beach
A campaign by a member of the public has led to Penarth Beach officially being designated as a bathing area, meaning the water quality will be regularly monitored by Natural Resources Wales (NRW)
Tests are taken between May and September every year, and the first tests in Penarth will be conducted in May this year with the beach receiving its official classification once a clear set of data has been collected.
As Penarth Beach is already very widely used by bathers, regular testing of the water quality and publication of the data is in the public interest.
If the water is rated as poor for five years in a row, then the bathing status is revoked, and advice shared to avoid the water.
Col-Huw Beach in Llantwit Major was also granted bathing water status despite one objection, following a campaign from local authorities.
The majority of responses in favour of the reclassification highlighted a number of themes such as the physical and mental health benefits of open water swimming, the fact that the area was already popular with swimmers and that the change could lead to improved infrastructure at the sites.
During the consultation process concerns were raised about the impact of nuclear waste from Hinckley Point and from general pollution caused by wastewater and the nearby barrage and shipping channel.
The majority of these respondents saw designation as a way in which poor water quality could be identified and addressed by those responsible for the pollution, providing assurances and testing to ensure the waste sediment is not having a detrimental impact.
James Tennet who began a campaign earlier this year said that he “couldn’t be happier” that the campaign for the beach to be recognised as a bathing area was successful.
According to the Penarth Times he said: “I hope this has a real long-term positive impact on the town with more people visiting the seafront and feeling more comfortable swimming in the water,”
“It was great to see 400 people reply to the public consultation, with 96 per cent supporting the application. This really shows the strength of feeling about the matter and the huge number of people who will be positively impacted by the decision.
“It’s great to have Penarth Beach designated as an official bathing water as the public will now have access to reliable scientific data on the quality of the water – before now all we have had is vastly differing opinions on this matter.
“The best thing is that this is really a win-win situation. We will either find out that the water quality on Penarth Beach is good, or we’ll find out it needs improvement, and the local council and water companies will have to take steps to make these improvements.”
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