I have been disappointed to see this morning that the bathing water at Burnham-on-Sea’s Jetty has been graded poor under new EU bathing water grades. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs were taking questions in the House of Commons this morning and so I was immediately able to raise this important local issue with the Minister responsible. On Monday, in preparation for today’s announcement, I attended the Bathing Water Quality Multi-Agency Steering Group at the Drainage Board in Highbridge to hear about the plans in place to address this by the Environment Agency, Natural England, Wessex Water and Sedgemoor District Council. I know that a great deal of investment has already been made and all are clear on what must be done. I have every confidence that they will continue in their work and that Burnham will meet the standards in the future.
“However, this is a blow for Burnham and local residents and businesses will expect progress to be quick and no stone left unturned so that this is put right as soon as possible. Whilst I accept that the quality of the water has not deteriorated – this is purely the consequence of a change in classification by the EU – we cannot hide behind that. Burnham-on-Sea has always been a fantastic place to come on holiday, tens of thousands of families do so every year and they have a great time whilst they’re here. But reputations can be lost quickly and so we must accelerate our efforts to make sure that this grade is improved and Burnham remains a fantastic place to come on holiday for centuries to come.”