Deadline Looms for Designated Bathing Water Feedback
With only days left until the closing date, residents and visitors to Littlehaven Beach are reminded to feedback on the Council's proposed application for designated bathing water status.
Following updated Government guidance under the Bathing Waters Regulations 2013, the Council is set to apply for Littlehaven Beach to be classified as designated bathing waters.
In line with the guidance, the Council launched a six-week consultation in August and now local people, visitors, groups and stakeholders have until this Saturday (30 September 2023) to have their say.
If the Council's application is approved by the Government, it would mean that the water quality at Littlehaven Beach would be regularly monitored and tested by the Environment Agency during the annual bathing season, before being given a bathing water classification of 'poor', 'sufficient', 'good' or 'excellent'.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Neighbourhoods and Climate Change at South Tyneside Council, said: "Littlehaven is a beautiful part of our coastline. It is much loved by both residents and visitors and an extremely popular spot for sea swimming and water sports.
"Given the number of people who enjoy our seaside all year round and regularly use Littlehaven, it would be great to see the beach receive bathing water designation and undergo regular water quality monitoring.
"Having this official designation would help us better protect the health of those entering the water at this location as well as give visitors up to date information and the confidence to make an informed decision before taking a dip.
"We want seafront visitors to tell us what they think before we submit the application for Littlehaven to be added to the list of designated bathing waters nationally."
To meet the criteria, a proposed designated bathing water must be a coastal or inland water, have at least 100 bathers a day during bathing season (15 May to 30 September) and have toilet facilities within a short distance (up to about 500m from the site).
If the Council's application is accepted, DEFRA will carry out a round of national public consultation before taking a final decision in spring 2024. If successful, water quality testing would begin next summer.
Annual water quality testing is already carried out at Sandhaven Beach and Marsden Bay - both designated bathing waters.
Councillor Gibson added: "We work hard to protect our communities and this particular part of the coastline has undergone a great deal of investment over the last decade. The creation of Littlehaven Seawall and Promenade has revitalised the area providing an improved coastal defence as well as a stunning visitor attraction.
"Bathing water designation builds on these improvements and would provide reassurance to beach goers that water quality is being monitored. It would also support the work we are doing as a Council following our ocean recovery declaration, Motion for the Ocean, and provide the data needed for action to be taken if minimum standards are not met."
Members of the public can submit any comments or concerns via email to LLFA@southtyneside.gov.uk or in writing to Environmental Sustainability, South Tyneside Council, Town Hall and Civic Offices, Westoe Road, South Shields, NE33 2RL.
For further information about the consultation visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/littlehavenconsultation