Water quality is going down hill

I REALLY do admire the Observer’s characteristic up-beat reporting of even the gloomiest news, but your article about the downgrading of St Leonards’ sea water quality under the heading ‘Hastings and St Leonards beaches given thumbs up in survey’ (Observer, March 29), is difficult to stomach.

83 out of 124 beaches in the south east have obtained the Marine Conservation Society’s Recommended standard; Hastings and St Leonards are not among them. The St Leonards rating is downgraded this year ‘because of a higher detection of bacteria’.

The Observer reported that in March last year Seaside Road storm water tank became septic and ‘waste material was discharged into the sea’.

In September a surfer saw ‘the sea was black with pollution and the beach littered with waste’. Cllr Chowney, Hastings Borough Council, wrote to the Observer stating ‘new toilets have been fitted in houses and plumbed into surface water drains rather than sewers’; some householders ‘may not even know that their toilet is plumbed illegally’.

Despite it being ‘something we’ll be making sure Southern Water tackles vigorously’ deterioration continues and the tourist economy is going with it.

BRYAN FELLOWES

Bulverhythe Road

St Leonards