Friday 19th July 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

Scarborough Bathing Water Pollution

September 26, 2023 Letters

A Letter to the Editor from former Scarborough Borough Councillor GUY SMITH, bemoaning the unacceptable state of Scarborough’s bathing waters, as revealed to the nation by the Daily Mirror reporter LUCY THORNTON and highlighted in the past here on the North Yorks Enquirer.


Dear Editor

As a former Scarborough Borough Councillor representing the North Bay Ward, I was very pleased to see that the North Bay had once again achieved the requirements to proudly hoist the prestigious BLUE FLAG in May 2023.
It is perceived to influence visitors and residents to their choice of which bay they prefer to spend their leisure time spending money in the adjacent attractions and using the amenities creating employment and helping the tourist economy.
As has been documented many times on this forum, and others, the neighbouring South Bay has sadly never achieved the BLUE FLAG accolade. It has been recognised in the past, as an “award winning beach” on an entirely different assessment scheme. Both schemes have a cost to the taxpayer, to apply to.
I can truthfully state that I have never known such adverse publicity for Scarborough as this year, relating to reports of the sea pollution. Former Scarborough-born and educated resident Frazer Maude, of Sky News and ITV1 Calendar News, having to relay the disappointing reports several times, and also regular Scarborough visitor, Mirror newspaper journalist, Paul Routledge.
A local surf instructor, Steve Crawford, owner of Fluid Concept Surf Shop, claims repeatedly that he has been unable to trade since May due to the South Bay water quality results.
His business and livelihood has suffered greatly.
The RNLI Beach Lifeguard Service, paid for by North Yorkshire Council, has not placed any red-and-yellow, red flags or chequered flags denoting the status of the water for swimming and surfing. They placed small A4 laminated posters on poles at a few vantage points stating advice against swimming, daily. However, it was clear that they could only advise and not physically enforce any individuals or groups from engaging in swimming and surfing activities. It made their purpose worthless. Indeed, one local group carried on holding surfing tuition in the South Bay with knowledge of the poor results.
Last week an announcement of a meeting of Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency, regulators and the Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Goodwill, our M.P. for Scarborough and Whitby, was made public knowledge. The meeting will be held on Monday 9th October at the Town Hall.  I hope the public are invited to it, but am awaiting confirmation.
During the Summer, North Yorkshire Councillor Greg White, Executive Member for managing our environment, was quoted in the Yorkshire Post following a meeting of the North Yorkshire Council on July 19th as advising to swim in the North Bay as an alternative to the South Bay, and stated that NYC were not giving any financial commitment to resolving the issue. Will this change following this meeting? Do visitors actually understand and heed the advice?  Who knows! More questions than answers.
In the meantime, I can only recommend looking at “SWIMFO ENVIRONMENT AGENCY” sample results webpage, making regular reports and assessing for myself which is the better beach to visit and swim and surf.
Recent samples for the North Bay on the 31st August, 25th August, 10th August, 21st July and 17th July show the NORTH BAY has worse results for E.coli and Intestinal Enterococci than the SOUTH BAY.  Does this mean NORTH BAY will NOT be flying the BLUE FLAG in 2024? If so, so much for the £50 million spent by Yorkshire Water in 2017.
I could also enquire again, about the daily HALF HOUR sampling results in South Bay from May to September in 2020, which cost £1 million, as I did not receive a satisfactory response at the meeting of the North Yorkshire Council Area Scrutiny Committee of Scarborough and Whitby held in June, but that is for another day!
Kind regards
Guy Smith

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