Councillor
Peter J. Martin
transparency, accountability and effective representation

Donaghadee - Councillor Peter J. Martin

Martin concerned about impact of new water quality standards at Groomsport and Ballyholme Beaches

Monday 14th April 2014

Many people probably only became aware in the Spectator last week that our beaches will, next year, be ‘re–graded’ by the EU as new legislation is applied called the EU Bathing Waters Directive 2015. It seems to have gone largely unnoticed by most political representatives but it is about to have a big impact on how our local beaches are assessed in terms of water quality.

Many people probably only became aware in the Spectator last week that our beaches will, next year, be ‘re–graded’ by the EU as new legislation is applied called the EU Bathing Waters Directive 2015. It seems to have gone largely unnoticed by most political representatives but it is about to have a big impact on how our local beaches are assessed in terms of water quality. 

Whilst the actual water quality we have will be unchanged, and it should be noted has actually improved over the last three years, this new directive will re–grade the water quality of all our beaches. Examining the quality figures that our beaches achieved last year it is possible that a number of occasions during our summer season one or other of our local beaches will be ranked in the lowest category ‘poor’. This may have a detrimental effect on both summer tourism which many of our businesses rely on but would also deter local residents from bathing when they see the new quality standards on the beach indicating that it has failed EU Water Quality standards. 

I raised this matter on behalf of constituents with the DOE Minister Mark Durkan who assured me in a letter that ‘the infrastructure improvements will meet spill requirements and contribute to Ballyholme bathing water meeting at least the sufficient standard’. 

It should be noted that last season, according to current standards, our bathing water was for the vast majority of the time completely safe. This will not change with a recalculation.

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