Councillor
Peter J. Martin
transparency, accountability and effective representation

Groomsport - Councillor Peter J. Martin

Call for action on North Down Beaches

Monday 30th May 2011

As a resident of North Down I am only too aware of the state of our local beaches. For many years now we have tolerated fairly average water quality but for the past 5 years the results have been so bad that they are now on the borderline of being seriously dan– gerous to health.

As a resident of North Down I am only too aware of the state of our local beaches. For many years now we have tolerated fairly average water quality but for the past 5 years the results have been so bad that they are now on the borderline of being seriously dangerous to health. According to the NI Environment Agencies report Ballyholme, for example, has been classified as ‘poor’ 3 out of the last 4 years. Last week the Marine Conservation Society published its own report on the beach and gave it the lowest grade available and commented that ‘it failed the European minimum standard – waterborne pathogens are present in high levels which are known to cause illness‘. 

Groomsport beach only managed one grade higher and the report admitted that ‘waterborne pathogens were also present’. This is wholly unacceptable to the residents of North Down. Last week I wrote to the Minister for Social Development, Alex Attwood MLA, highlighting the concerns of local residents and will be lobbying the new Minister for action. Frankly if we have heavy rainfall this summer the Council should put up ‘Beach Closed’ signs – similar to the ones they used in Jaws! I campaigned on this issue before the election and now, having been elected, have no intention of letting it rest until this situation is improved. 

Water quality is not my only corner though for our beaches. We, as a Council, must also ensure that the litter is picked up more quickly, doggie bins are emptied more expediently and that irresponsible owners who allow their dogs to foul and do not police it up are punished for their laziness

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