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Sewage on the beach
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These British beaches have had to close because the sea is full of sewage

It’s been dubbed ‘the summer of sewage’ in the UK for a reason, you know?

Ella Doyle
Written by
Ella Doyle

After the constant heatwaves we’ve been having, plenty of us might fancy a little swim. How about heading to your nearest beach, armbands in tow, to cool off? Sounds nice, right? Wrong. Vast stretches of sea next to the UK’s beaches have been pumped full of sewage. Yes, really. 

The Environmental Agency has special powers to use in extreme conditions – and one of them is releasing sewage into rivers and streams. This is because of prolonged heavy rain, but we haven’t had too much of that, so it could be something else. 

What releasing the sewage essentially does is protect homes and other buildings from floods. But it’s not really summer holiday vibes, it’s true. 

There are many warnings in place about which beaches to avoid, but some have fully closed following the news. Yesterday afternoon it was announced that beaches in Bexhill and Normans Bay in East Sussex would close to the public, after a pumping station had ‘significant’ electrical issues. The council have said not to take a dip in Pelham Beach in Hastings following the discharges. 

A spokesperson from Southern Water has apologised following the announcement, saying they were ‘deeply sorry’ and understand the ‘distress’ caused. 

But while East Sussex has closed its beaches, people are advised to stay away from a further 50 beaches across the UK due to contamination. These were flagged by charity Surfers Against Sewage, which identified all the beaches that have had discharges by water companies this week. These beaches include ones in:

  • Bognor Regis, West Sussex
  • Newquay, Cornwall
  • East Looe, Cornwall
  • Heacham, Norfolk
  • Rest and Sandy Bay (Porthcawl), Bridgend
  • Morecambe North, Lancashire
  • Cowes, Isle of Wight
  • Robin Hoods Bay, North Yorkshire
  • Sidmouth Town, Devon
  • Shoreham Beach, West Sussex
  • Southend-on-Sea, Essex

So if you’re heading to the beach this weekend? Best keep an eye on the latest updates from Surfers Against Sewage.

ICYMI: this frightening interactive map shows the most polluted beaches in the UK.

Plus: could *another* heatwave be on the way next month?

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