Ryde beach

Isle of Wight coastal water quality given thumbs up

The Isle of Wight Council has welcomed the news that the Island has been successful in gaining ten Solent Water Quality Awards for 2016.

The locations are Colwell, Cowes, Gurnard, Ryde, Sandown, Seagrove, Shanklin, St Helens, Ventnor and Yaverland.

The Solent Water Quality Awards scheme is administered by the Solent Forum and provides a simple and readily understood indicator of satisfactory water quality at bathing beaches.

From this year, the bathing water quality has been assessed under the stringent EU Bathing Water Directive 2006/7/EC. c), with the Environment Agency being responsible for monitoring water quality and publishing this data on line. Additionally the council ensures that each location displays the necessary information so that the general public can make an informed decision as to where to bathe, swim or paddle. This means the public are able to easily associate the area to which the award applies.

The Isle of Wight Council Executive member for public transport, tourism, recreation and heritage, Councillor Shirley Smart said: “The Isle of Wight is already known for its great beaches so it is fantastic news that we have water quality to match. I am sure this news will be a great boost ahead of the main tourist season beginning in earnest from Easter.

“We have worked hard with our partners at the Environment Agency and Southern Water to ensure we keep these standards high so that visitors and residents alike can continue to enjoy our safe, clean water.”

David Thornton, chief executive, Visit Isle of Wight said:“The Island’s coastline is one of our greatest tourism assets and keeping it clean and safe is of the utmost importance. I am therefore delighted that the Island has been awarded ten Solent Water Quality Awards for 2016, offering an excellent choice of quality bathing for our visitors to enjoy this summer.”

Karen McHugh, Solent Forum manager said: “Solent water quality improvements are reflected in the 2016 awards and Isle of Wight beaches have performed well. It is good news to see that standards are high despite the introduction of more stringent standards in 2015”.

The council works in partnership with the Environment Agency and Southern Water to maintain the bathing water quality.

To help those deciding where to swim, information is online at https://www.gov.uk/quality-of-local-bathing-water  and on signs at the beach from May 2016.

Further information about the Solent Forum and the Awards scheme is available at http://www.solentforum.org/forum/sub_groups/Water_Quality_Group/water_quality_awards/

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

 

The location classifications are:
Colwell = Excellent
Cowes = Excellent
Gurnard = Good
Ryde = Good
Sandown = Good
Seagrove = Good
Shanklin = Sufficient
St Helens = Good
Ventnor = Excellent
Yaverland = Good

The classification descriptions are as follows:
Excellent – This standard is the highest cleanest class
Good – generally good water quality
Sufficient – These waters pass the minimum acceptable standard for bathing
Poor – Swimming and paddling are not advised at this bathing water as the water quality has not met the minimum standard