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The Costs of Polluted Coastal Waters Considering the Socio-Economic Implications of Poor Bathing Water Quality Dr Robert Keirle Pollution Programme Manager Marine Conservation Society


Presentation Overview • • • •

• •

Introduction The Marine Conservation Society Weston-super-Mare’s 3 designated beaches 3 main threats to bathing water quality: • Sewage • Diffuse pollution (urban) • Diffuse pollution (agricultural) Implications for tourism Proposed Severn Barrage


Pollution


Current Bathing Water Directive (76/160/EEC) • •

Sets minimum legal requirements for water quality & sampling frequency Mandatory standard: • At least 95% of samples must contain <10,000 TC/100ml & <2,000 FC/100ml Guideline standard: • At least 80% of samples must contain <500 TC/100ml & <100 FC/100ml • At least 90% of samples must contain <100 faecal streptococci/100ml


Bathing Waters in the UK •

597 coastal or estuarine waters

Country

2010

2011

12 inland freshwater sites

England

413

414

Wales

80

88

Scotland

82

83

Northern Ireland

24

24

UK Total

599

609

Implications of climate change? • More freshwater sites • Hotter, drier summers & milder, wetter winters • More intense, localised storms


UK compliance with Mandatory standard

UK compliance with Guideline standard


Weston-super-Mare’s 3 Designated Beaches • • • • • •

Sand Bay, Weston Main & Uphill Slipway Sampled approximately once a week, between May and September No routine sampling undertaken outside this period Is this sufficient to capture transient pollution events? Individual samples are designated as either ‘fail’, ‘minimum’ or ‘higher’ In 2015 the revised BWD comes fully into force


Photo caption


Bathing Water Profiles for Weston-super-Mare

By law, the relevant environmental regulator has to produce a written summary (plus additional maps) for each designated BW: • EA’s DNA tracing technique shows faecal contamination is both human & animal in origin • Faecal contamination from the River Axe catchment • Historic concerns relating to W-s-M sewage treatment works • Improvements have been made to CSOs and EOs, particularly at the Black Rock outfall


Variation in BW Quality 2002-2011 2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Sand Bay

H

M

H

H

M

H

M

H

H

H

Main

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

Uphill Slipway

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

Key:

M H

Minimum Higher


Revised Bathing Water Directive

This will have four classifications: • ‘Excellent’ (~2x the current ‘guideline’ standard) • ‘Good’ (~’guideline’ standard) • ‘Sufficient’ (~2x current ‘sufficient’ standard) • ‘Poor’ Again, these standards are retrospective, but based on 4 years’ worth of data, and not the current 1 year


Projected Revised Bathing Water Classifications in England & Wales – October 2011 (October 2010) • • •

Sand Bay – GOOD (GOOD) Weston Main – SUFFICIENT (POOR) Uphill Slipway – POOR (POOR)

If a beach fails for 5 consecutive years, permanent signage has to be erected by law advising beach goers not to enter the sea Just imagine the impact this would have on W-s-M’s tourist industry!


3 Main Threats to Bathing Water Quality •

• •

Sewage • Misconnections; combined sewer overflows; inadequate/insufficient waste-water treatment Diffuse pollution from urban areas Diffuse pollution from agricultural areas


Implications for Tourism •

• •

The Grand Pier: • Rebuilt at a cost of £39million • Opened October 2010; closed…? Further proposals to development WsM sea front Disconnect between the built environment & the natural environment • Inversely proportional relationship between the size of the resort & the importance of the natural environment Tourists will vote with their feet and visit a cleaner resort!


Case Study: Blackpool • •

Blackpool has a marine frontage of 11.25km Regeneration scheme has included: • South Shore & Red Bank Road – £12million • Festival Headland shared space project – £14million • Sandcastle Centre & North Pier – £62million • Total cost of Blackpool regeneration scheme – £250million Amount spent on natural environment: • NOTHING!


Proposed Severn Barrage: Clear Blue Thinking... • • • •

• •

2nd greatest tidal range after the Bay of Fundy in Canada 16km concrete wall effectively damming the estuary Tourist boat trips/increased recreational use of the sea? Energy removal may lead to great sedimentation  clearer water? Clearer water greater UV penetration safer water? Rising groundwater levels? infiltration of sewerage system increased CSO spill frequency? Cellar flooding?


Thanks for your attention! Any questions? •

My contact details:  Marine Conservation Society, Unit 3, Wolf Business Park, Alton Road, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, HR9 5NB  01989 566107  Robert.Keirle@mcsuk.org


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