England's most dangerously polluted beaches revealed

·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
·4-min read
An interactive map has shown where the most polluted beaches in England are. (Surfer's Against Sewage)
An interactive map has shown where the most polluted beaches in England are. (Surfer's Against Sewage)

England's most dangerously polluted beaches have been revealed in an interactive map, as tourists continue to pack the coastlines for the summer holidays.

Swimmers have been warned of sewage and pollution at several beaches, partly due to storms following the heatwave.

Currently, sewers in Britain struggle with heavy rain, and sewage works can become overwhelmed.

Water firms are permitted to release rainwater and untreated sewage into rivers and the sea to stop waste backing up in streets and homes.

According to data gathered by environmental campaign group Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), there has been storm sewage discharge into the waters at beaches in Cornwall, Devon, Sussex, Essex, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Northumberland and Cumbria.

A spokeswoman for SAS said other pollution warnings in place may not be linked to heavy rain, and those visiting the coast are advised to check its interactive map on their website before they swim.

To check the beaches near you, click HERE.

People enjoy the warm weather on the beach at Durdle Door, near Lulworth, in Dorset, after the public were reminded to practice social distancing following the relaxation of lockdown restrictions in England.
People enjoy the warm weather on the beach at Durdle Door, near Lulworth, in Dorset. (PA)

Experts amend the map each day to reflect a real-time analysis of water quality on English breaches.

Ticks on the map mean water quality is fine for water activities, while cross marks indicate beaches which should be avoided.

Spanner and snowflake symbols mean water quality data is unavailable due to ongoing works or the beach being out of season.

At the time of writing, much of the south coast has been deemed unsafe for swimming due to sewage being released in the water.

In Cornwall there are multiple warnings, most notably on the northern parts towards Newquay.

Water quality alerts on the eastern side of the country are less common, although at some beaches in Southend, Essex, there are warnings of storm sewage being discharged on the coastline in the last 48 hours.

Much of the south coast has warnings on the water quality. (PA)
Much of the south coast has warnings on the water quality. (PA)
Water quailty warnings are in place in Southend for discharged sewage.
Water quailty warnings are in place in Southend for discharged sewage.
(Surfers Against Sewage)
Cornwall has a number of warnings. (Surfers Against Sewage)

The Environment Agency (EA) has issued pollution alerts across the country, warning the heavy rainfall and flooding seen in recent days has affected water quality.

Heavy rainfall along with high winds at tides can all affect sea water quality, the agency said.

"Throughout the bathing season, daily pollution risk forecasts are made for a number of bathing waters where water quality may be temporarily reduced due to factors, such as heavy rainfall - as is the case today - wind or the tide," a spokesperson for the EA said.

(Surfers Against Sewage)
The northern point of Devon is deemed to be safe. (Surfers Against Sewage)
(Surfers Against Sewage)
The coast line above Norfolk has a few warnings. (Surfers Against Sewage)

"When the potential for a temporary reduction in water quality is forecast, we issue a pollution risk warning and advice against bathing.

"This enables bathers to make informed decisions regarding avoiding times or locations where the risk of pollution is higher than normal, and health risks from bathing may be higher than the annual classification suggests."

In October 2021, MPs voted against an amendment to a bill which would have prevented companies from dumping raw sewage.

In 2020 alone, over 400,000 incidents of sewage being released by water companies were in Britain, wreaking havoc on water quality.

People on the beach in Bournemouth. Temperatures have reached 40C for the first time on record in the UK, with 40.2C provisionally recorded at London Heathrow, the Met Office has said. Picture date: Tuesday July 19, 2022.
People on the beach in Bournemouth. (PA)
People gather in the hot weather at Southend-on-Sea beach. A drought has been declared for parts of England following the driest summer for 50 years. Picture date: Sunday August 14, 2022.
People gather in the hot weather at Southend-on-Sea beach - which currently has sewage warnings. (PA)

Environmental campaigners have called for better infrastructure such as storage tanks.

They say raw sewage can be dangerous to local wildlife and anyone who enters the sea.

Last week, the government's water minister threatened to fine companies after it was revealed that billions of gallons of water is being lost in leaks every day, in addition to sewage releases.

Steve Double insisted water firms needed to do more to stop water being wasted, especially in the face of hotter and drier summers.

"Water companies must continue to invest more, including to prevent leakage and work faster to fix leaks," he told The Mail on Sunday.

"We are losing somewhere between 15% to 20% annually through leakage, which is not acceptable.

"Progress has been made but my message to water companies is they need to prioritise customers, not shareholder returns. If we don't see the progress we expect, we won't hesitate to take further action.

"The public and government rightly expect more from our water companies."