Hastings’ beach water could fail new standards

Hastings beach
Hastings beach
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Bathing water off Hastings beach could fail new stringent rules set by the European Union.

A new directive is set to come into force in 2016 which make quality standards tougher to meet.

Simon Hubbard, director of regeneration for Hastings Borough Council, presented his report to the council’s Cabinet committee on Monday (January 5).

In it he said: “Progress has been made as a result of action by Southern Water, the Environment Agency and the council. However, the risk of failure at Pelham Beach in Hastings remains and further actions are planned over the winter and spring. Following the 2014 bathing season, both Hastings and St Leonards beaches continue to meet current water standards. However, the Environment Agency’s reassessment of likely results under the 2016 standard concludes that St Leonards will be classified as ‘good’ and Hastings remains ‘poor’.”

He said the new standard is calculated on a four-year rolling average, meaning Hastings could be hampered by poor results in 2011.

Last June a major project started in Alexandra Park to improve the quality of the water that flows out to sea at Pelham Beach. New vegetation matting has been put in the streams, providing a trap for silt and bacteria and providing a great habitat for invertebrates such as dragonflies. The ponds at the top of Buckshole reservoir have been treated and the environment improved.

Council leader Jeremy Birch said: “We are by no means complacent on this. Substantial work has been done but we recognise further work needs to be done to ensure we do not fail in the future.”