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The Guardian's data blog thumbs through all the details on UK beaches to praise the good ones and expose the bad.

How clean are the UK’s beaches? A report out today ranks Britain’s seaside resorts.

The 2012 Good Beach Guide measures water quality at 754 beaches around the country – and then ranks them as either:

• Recommended water quality and good sewage treatment

Guideline for good water quality

• Basic water passed the European Commission statutory minimum

• Fail

The report rated 516 out of 754 (68%) UK bathing beaches as having excellent water quality – up 8% on last year. That compares well to 2010, when it rated 421 of 769 beaches as excellent.

However, Damian Carrington writes that

Heavy recent rains are flushing raw sewage into coastal waters, ruining the water quality at popular beaches around the UK just as the bathing season begins, according to the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

As it publishes its 2012 Good Beach Guide, the MCS reveals that one-third of the 750 beaches it tested failed on water quality, due to contamination from overflowing sewers and run-off from farms or from streets, where dog waste presents a significant problem.

The picture varies around the country: in Scotland the Good Beach Guide recommended only 45 out of 110 (41%) bathing beaches tested last summer

5% less than the previous year which had been one of Scotland’s best in the Guide. Water quality at Scotland’s beaches has been impacted by heavy summer rains and above average rainfall in many areas



In the North West of England, only just over a fifth of beaches were recommended this year. Some of Britain’s best-known beaches didn’t pass the test, too – both Blackpool North and South beach and Llandudno failed to meet basic standards.

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Tags: beaches, england

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