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The Isle of Wight Council has welcomed the results of the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) annual Good Beach Guide survey.

The survey reports on the standard of bathing water at UK beaches, with each beach given one of four ratings for water quality. The quality of bathing water is measured against standards set by the European Bathing Water Directive.

The MCS top rating is ‘recommended’ where water quality is described as excellent, followed by ‘guideline’ then ‘mandatory,’ which means the water meets the minimum quality required, with the lowest rating being ‘fail’ with water quality not meeting minimum standards.

On the Isle of Wight, 14 beaches, 11 of which are maintained by the council, were rated, with 12 achieving the top ‘recommended’ rating.

Shanklin received a ‘guideline’ rating, which is up from ‘mandatory’ in 2013, with Bembridge given a ‘mandatory’ rating, one below what it achieved last year. No beaches were given a fail.

Gurnard and St Helens improved their ratings from ‘guideline’, while Ryde beach was rated as ‘mandatory’ last year. All three are now rated as ‘recommended’.

Shirley Smart, the Isle of Wight Council Executive member responsible for tourism said: “The Isle of Wight is well known for its fantastic beaches and it is very pleasing that 12 beaches have been given the top rating by the Marine Conservation Society, 11 of which are maintained by the council.

“This news is very timely ahead of the main tourism season and is a welcome boost.”

Under the separate but prestigious Blue Flag and Seaside Awards scheme, the Isle of Wight currently has the highest amount of award winning beaches in the country. It has four Blue Flag beaches and 13 Seaside Awards, giving a total of 17 awards.

Notes for editors

The beaches and their ratings, according to the MCS, are below. Those listed as ‘not maintained by council’ are owned/maintained by other organisations.

Totland Bay – Recommended

Colwell Bay – Recommended

Gurnard – Recommended

Cowes – Recommended

Ryde – Recommended

Seagrove – Recommended

St Helens – Recommended

Bembridge (not maintained by council) – Mandatory Whitecliff Bay (not maintained by council) – Recommended Yaverland – Recommended Sandown – Recommended Shanklin – Guideline Ventnor – Recommended Compton Bay (not maintained by council) – Recommended