Thursday 11th July 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

Water Quality Flagged Up

June 8, 2024 Letters

A Letter to the Editor from former Scarborough Borough Councillor GUY SMITH, lamenting the lack of action in response to shameful bathing water quality on the North Yorkshire coast.


Dear Editor

As we all know, there have been many changes in local politics over the last twelve months, including the abolition of Scarborough Borough Council, and the numerous consultations to form a new Town Council for the unparished areas of Scarborough. We anticipate it will be in existence in a year’s time from now, and new Councillors will be doing their best to address issues raised by their Wards’ residents.
One particular concern I have is the long standing issue of Scarborough failing in its numerous attempts to improve the seawater quality. North Yorkshire Councillor Greg White specifically was recorded as saying that NYC were not going to give any financial support to resolving the issues and we now have a new Cabinet member for Scarborough and Whitby harbours who lives 55 miles from the coast, so it feels like our coastline is getting increasingly ignored.
It’s exceptionally difficult to believe that Victorians flocked to the town to bathe in the sea to cure their ailments and yet, centuries later, we are putting up warning signs and posters advising against swimming.
Numerous reasons have been given for the poor water quality, including donkeys, dogs, seabirds, beach litter and industrial/farm run off.
I recently observed the North Yorkshire Council workmen putting the flagpole back in North Bay with its flag.  Disappointingly it was NOT the BLUE FLAG as erected the previous May 2023 – but the SEASIDE AWARDS FLAG!
As I have posted on the North Yorkshire Enquirer before, I expected the Blue Flag status was doubtful for 2024, as sampling results highlighted on the Swimfo Environment Agency site for North Bay, showed several times when results were exceptionally bad, including the 25th August, when a huge record of 10,000 Intestinal Enterococci colonies per 100ml was recorded.
Meanwhile the South Bay achieves the shameful BROWN FLAG for water samples sharing that accolade with twelve others, including nearby Bridlington South Beach !
I understand that a water summit is going to be held again, in Scarborough, to address this constant issue. Sadly, it appears the public are restricted from attending, also once again!
Let’s hope that recent sample results from North Bay will be mentioned at the meeting, as they are very disturbing.
The North Yorkshire Council Scarborough & Whitby Area Committee has water quality in its work programme on Friday 29th November. I will look forward to attending and hearing from Faye, Yorkshire Water’s Coastal delivery and Engagement Manager and judging for myself how serious this is being taken.
I think we have had enough of the bad publicity and need action – whoever gets elected as our new Scarborough & Whitby Member of Parliament in the forthcoming national elections on July 4th needs to make it their number one priority.
Kind regards
Guy Smith

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