The unrivalled beauty of Wales’ beaches are some of the jewels in the crown of its natural wonders.
However, Natural Resources Wales carries out annual testing of 105 designated bathing sites and this year the results show that seven Welsh beaches were given the lowest grade for bathing water quality.
This year, 83 areas of bathing water in Wales were given the prestigious “excellent” mark for water quality.
Of the 105 beaches, 15 were graded “good” but seven were given a “sufficient” rating, the lowest available grade for bathing water quality.
According to Natural Resources Wales the five main sources of bathing water pollution are:
- Pollution from sewage – bacteria from sewage can enter our waters as a result of system failures or overflows or directly from sewage works
- Water draining from farms and farmland – manure from livestock or poorly stored slurry can wash into rivers and streams resulting in faecal material entering the sea
- Animals and birds on or near beaches – dog, bird and other animal faeces can affect bathing water as they often contain high levels of bacteria (much higher than treated human waste)
- Water draining from populated areas – water draining from urban areas following heavy rain can contain pollution from a variety of sources, including animal and bird faeces
- Domestic sewage – misconnected drains and poorly located and maintained septic tanks can pollute surface water systems
Due to the impacts of coronavirus, the monitoring season, which usually runs from May to September was delayed.
Monitoring finally got underway in June with samples taken from all designated sites and then analysed in a specialist laboratory.
Clare Pillman, CEO of Natural Resources Wales, said: “Monitoring and maintaining our natural resources is a cornerstone of the work we do and I’m so proud of our staff pulling together and getting this important job done despite the unprecedented times we find ourselves in.
“This year’s results show how hard we and our partners are working both locally and nationally but also the tremendous dedication that our organisations have to an important environmental service.
“We’re incredibly proud of everyone involved in getting these results in what seemed like an impossible time to carry out such a task. We look forward to Wales continuing to work as a team to protect and improve our beaches and the benefits they bring to us.”
Here are this year’s rankings starting with the lowest “sufficient” grade:
Jackson’s Bay Barry Island – ‘good’ in 2019
Aberavon – ‘good’ in 2019
Aberporth – ‘good’ in 2019
Llandudno North Shore (below) – ‘sufficient’ in 2019
Abergele (Pensarn) – ‘sufficient’ in 2019
Kinmel Bay (Sandy Cove) – ‘good’ in 2019
Marine Lake, Rhyl – ‘sufficient’ in 2019
Whitmore Bay, Barry Island
Cold Knap, Barry
Swansea Bay (below)
New Quay North
Trecco Bay, Porthcawl
Sandy Bay, Porthcawl
Rest Bay, Porthcawl
Langland Bay (below)
Port Eynon Bay
Castle Beach, Tenby
Broad Haven (south)
Broad Haven (central)
New Quay Harbour
Aberystwyth South & North
Behind the scenes at DIY SOS at Surfability in Caswell Bay
Craig Du Beach Central
Glan Don Beach
Silver Bay Rhoscolyn
St Davids – Benllech
Llandudno West Shore
Colwyn Bay Porth Eirias