love my beach beach clean volunteersWe have joined forces with the Environment Agency, Keep Britain Tidy, the Marine Conservation Society, local authorities, British Destinations, and the National Farmers Union to launch the LOVEmyBEACH campaign. 

The campaign urges people and organisations across the North West to get behind efforts to improve the quality of bathing waters.

The partnership’s aim is to reach the best standards possible for the region by motivating everyone to take action which will reduce sea pollution – you can find out more about what LOVEmyBEACH is doing here.

The partnership was officially launched at a summit held at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, in September 2012. Around 150 delegates attended and there was also a recorded address from former Water Minister Richard Benyon.

Since the launch, the partnership board has met to agree what cross-agency action needs to be taken to reduce bathing water pollution.

United Utilities’ actions so far since the launch, include:

  • Checks on parts of our network which can have an impact on bathing water quality before the bathing season begins
  • Introduction of a real-time system where people who want to use beaches can check our website first to see if there have been any recent spills from our sewage system into the sea
  • Launch of Think Before You Pour and Think Before You Flush campaigns, advising domestic and business customers how to dispose of fats, greases and personal hygiene products. This helps prevent blockages which can lead to flooding, releasing sewage into nearby watercourses and onto the sea
  • Spending more than £4m on a coastal modelling survey which will help us pinpoint where our wastewater network can be improved to prevent pollution

Big improvements have been made to coastline waters over the past two decades, but new EU legislation is raising the bar, almost doubling standards, so we need to look at different ways of cleaning up the Irish Sea and the rivers that flow into it, such as the River Ribble.

The incoming rules state that any beaches which fail to reach the new standards must have signs advising people against bathing in that area, so this poses a big risk to the reputation and economies of seaside resorts, like Blackpool and Morecambe, but also popular spots in Cumbria and the Wirral.

We need to carry out further improvements on our sewer system, but contaminated water running off roads and fields, as well as beach management and the incorrect connection of drains to sewers, all play a part.

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