WATER quality has improved at one of Southsea’s beaches, according to a report released today.
The section of beach to the west of South Parade Pier was ‘recommended’ in this year’s Good Beach Guide by the Marine Conservation Society.
The same beach was rated ‘mandatory’ in the 2013 Good Beach Guide – meaning that it only reached basic European standards.
Meanwhile, the main Southsea beach, east of the pier, continued to be rated ‘mandatory’.
Historically, the beach has reached basic water quality standards.
The ratings are based on levels of bacteria, including E.coli, found in the water.
Higher levels of bacteria mean that more sewage and pollution has entered the sea.
Nearly all other beaches in The News area had excellent water quality and were ‘recommended’.
They are: Hillhead, Lee-on-Solent, Stokes Bay, Eastney, all three of Hayling Island’s beaches, West Wittering, Bracklesham Bay, Pagham, Bognor Regis East and Felpham.
Aldwick beach in Bognor only reached the basic standards.
None of the south’s beaches failed in the tests, which were carried out last summer.
Overall the MCS has recommended 538 out of 734 – 135 more than the previous year.
There were also fewer failures, with just fourteen beaches tested last summer failing to reach minimum water quality standards.
Part of the reason for higher standards was the dry summer, which led to less overflow discharges from water treatment plants such as Budds Farm at Havant.
Rachel Wyatt, a coastal pollution officer for the MCS, said: ‘It’s great news that we are able to recommend more beaches than ever for excellent water quality and it shows just how good British beaches can be.
‘The main challenge now is maintaining these standards, whatever the weather.
By the end of the 2015 bathing season, all designated bathing waters must meet the new minimum ‘sufficient’ standard due to the revised EU Bathing Water Directive.
This will be around twice as stringent as the current minimum standard.
It means some beaches, such as Southsea, will need to do more to make the grade in the future.
This could include reducing pollution from sewage discharges, reducing litter and putting in place more steps to help dog owners clean up after their pets.