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13th April 2022 - BCP Cabinet Meeting

BeachPeople attended the meeting with the intention of drawing cabinet-wide consensus on whether all departments within the Council support the designation of Whitley Lake as a bathing water

We had tabled the following question:


"BeachPeople are campaigning to have Whitely Lake (aka Kite Beach), Sandbanks harbour-side, designated by Defra as a Bathing Water.

This would mean that the Environment Agency will sample the water for E. Coli and Enterococci* twenty times per bathing season (from mid-May to September inc.)

Whitley Lake would then become the only sample point downstream of the large number of CSOs** in Holes Bay, source of the vast majority of sewage pollution in the Harbour.

Do any of the council departments, in particular Destination and Culture, have any objections to BeachPeople’s campaign, and if so, what are those objections?

* E. Coli and Enterococci are signifiers that harmful pathogens from sewage may be present in the water and therefore it is unsafe to swim. The EA will sample for these. BeachPeople currently do, using a mix of their own lab equipment and commercial testing facilities for confirmation of accuracy.

** a CSO is a Combined Sewage Outfall where treated sewage is discharged along with occasional discharges of raw sewage mixed with rainfall. "


This was the response from Cllr Mark Anderson:


"I would like to thank .. BeachPeople for this question and their determination to get the Whitely Lake/Kite Beach designated as a bathing water site.

I've discussed this issue with seafront staff from Destination and Culture and regulatory officer's and as the portfolio holder covering Seafront Operations, I'm happy to support your request.

However, we are not intending to update or provide additional facilities in this area. As this is not land owned or managed by BCP Council, we are however conscious of its popularity and use and would support improvements.

As I know [BeachPeople have] concerns about water quality as I do, I thought it useful to let [them] know that I have written to all the BCP MPs and recently had a meeting with the local MPs about the water quality in the area.

The focus of the meeting was on sewage outflows and the work BCP Council has been doing with various agencies to address this.

The aim was also to raise awareness with MPs and to focus on the impact on our Harbour / Shellfish industry. Sewage and the quality of our beaches was also discussed along with issues associated with people seeing foul surface water (mistakenly perceived as sewage) floating across beaches."

 

Since this was a publically recorded meeting this is very positive news as it represents official council policy that should not then be changed during the consultation period this year, so we can count this as a firm step forward.