Old Portsmouth’s beach rating downgraded in The Good Beach Guide

A child plays at the sea by the Hot Walls in Old Portsmouth. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (13633-9668)
A child plays at the sea by the Hot Walls in Old Portsmouth. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (13633-9668)

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THE bad weather saw more pollution washed into the sea at Old Portsmouth, research has shown.

Authors of The Good Beach Guide say heavy rainfall has had an impact on the beach at Old Portsmouth, which was downgraded to the minimum standard of water quality.

The annual Good Beach Guide is published by the Marine Conservation Society.

But at Hill Head near Stubbington, the water has improved and the beach is now recommended, with excellent water quality.

Beaches at Lee-on-the-Solent, Stokes Bay, Eastney, Beachlands West and Beachlands Central in Hayling Island, Eastoke and West Wittering have all been recommended. Meanwhile, Southsea West and Southsea Central have remained at a mandatory level.

David Evans, Portsmouth seafront manager, said it’s disappointing to see the weather has impacted on the water quality.

‘We always get poor results when the weather has been particularly wet,’ he said. ‘We have been working with Southern Water for a number of years and we are working with the Environment Agency to improve our beaches.’

However Mr Evans said that he doesn’t recommend people swim in the area around Old Portsmouth.

‘Because of where it is in the shipping channel we don’t recommend it as a bathing area,’ he said.

‘Even if the water there was excellent we still wouldn’t recommend people bathe in the water there.’

Nationally, the MCS has recommended only 403 of the 754 UK bathing beaches tested in 2012 as having excellent water quality. That’s 113 fewer beaches than were recommended last year.

MCS coastal pollution officer, Rachel Wyatt, said: ‘Action must be taken now.

‘With stricter bathing water standards from 2015 and summers that appear to be getting wetter, the iconic image of people bathing off golden beaches could be at serious risk. There is no simple solution to sewage and animal waste reaching our seas.

‘However if the water industry, communities and local authorities recognise that there is a problem and begin to work together to find answers then that would be a significant start.’