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Love Your Beach call to arms

14:01 16th August 2009 by
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Following on from a Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) campaign plea earlier in the year, which sought to win first-time environmental improvements for unregulated wave-riding beaches, we are now moving forward with two new ‘Love Your Beach’ nominations in Sussex and Northern Ireland and we hope you’ll support this latest campaign by signing our petition, below

Our campaign is focusing on improving the water quality at Portballintrae’s Runkerry Strand in Northern Ireland and Peacehaven beach in East Sussex, by winning first time ‘EU bathing water’ designation.

To do this we have to get both respective Government’s Environment Departments’ to designate it under the EU Bathing Water Directive.

As many wave-riders will know getting a beach classified as an ‘EU bathing water’ can be a sure-fire way of winning environmental improvements, which can help make a beach cleaner and safer for everyone to use.

Throughout the summer, beaches designated as bathing waters benefit from weekly water quality testing, improved litter management and better safety facilities that help the public better enjoy their time spent at the beach.

Both Portballintrae and Peacehaven currently have antiquated sewerage infrastructures, which see the beaches routinely suffer from poor water quality. If we can persuade both Government Departments that enough people use the beach for bathing and recreation to get them designated, then we can put an end to fears wave-riders have over poor water quality in these areas.

However, because of a failure by the European Union’s legal wordsmiths, the Directive does not specifically include ‘recreational water users’ within the term ‘bathing’ – despite this group being scientifically more vulnerable to falling ill from poor water quality than traditional bathers.

Ridiculous, we know, but with that in mind we have to ensure that wave-riders are also counted as bathers if we are to be in with a shout of getting the designation of these beaches. We know that you’re pretty adept already at back-dooring waves, so you’ll appreciate we’re trying a back-door route to indirectly win improvements for you! For this reason we are classing you as a both a bather and a wave-rider to help with this!

So, to help us in our lobbying of both Government Departments, we’d like you to sign our online petitions. For Portballintrae we are targeting the Department of Environment directly, whilst for Peacehaven we have to target Lewes District Council, as they would have to make an application to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) direct.

We’ll present both sets of signatures to the key decision makers at the end of the bathing season and crucially before the Government decides on the future of both beaches.

Andy Cummins, SAS Campaigns Manager says: “Bathing water designation for these beaches will protect your health as a wave-rider and your waves from pollution in the future. As this is the best opportunity we will have for some time we must seize it! Don’t delay, sign the petition NOW”.

If you use Portballintrae’s Runkerry Strand sign the petition here: http://www.sas.org.uk/pr/2009/love-your-beach-4.php

If you use Peacehaven beach sign the petition here: http://www.sas.org.uk/pr/2009/love-your-beach-7.php

NOT YOUR BEACH?

If you don’t use these beaches but use another for wave-riding that isn’t already an EU approved bathing water, then it’s not too late to tell us about it. You can nominate here: http://www.sas.org.uk/pr/2009/love-your-beach-2.php