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UPDATED: Bathing waters around the coast of the Isle of Wight have improved, with all 14 locations now rated as either ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, according to data released by DEFRA.

The South East continues to be among the best regions in the country for healthy bathing waters, with 51 of 83 designated areas receiving ‘excellent’ status in 2016.

On the Island there has been significant improvement at Bembridge and Shanklin, with both areas going from ‘sufficient’ to ‘good’. Nearby St Helens is now rated as ‘excellent’, which is an improvement from its ‘good’ rating in 2015.

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Colwell Bay, Compton Bay, Cowes, Totland Bay, Ventnor and Whitcliff Bay have all retained their previous ‘excellent’ rating, whilst Gurnard, Ryde, Sandown, Seagrove and Yaverland have retained their ‘good’ rating.

In total 7 areas are now rated as ‘excellent’ and 7 are rated as ‘good’.

Southern Water has invested millions of pounds in helping to boost bathing water quality across the region over recent years and work closely with a range of partners, including councils, conservation groups, charities, businesses and key bodies such as the Environment Agency.

Bathing water quality can be affected by a range of factors including rainwater running off roads and agricultural land into watercourses and the sea, wastewater from privately-owned treatment works, boats and even animals on the beach such as dogs and seabirds.

Paul Kent, Southern Water’s Environment and Wastewater Strategy Manager, said:

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“Bathing water quality is affected by a number of issues but we play an important role in helping support local authorities and the Environment Agency to ensure the coastal waters in our region are protected.

“We are thrilled this has been another great year for our region’s beaches – they are a vital asset and of huge importance to the people who live and work here”.

UPDATE WEDNESDAY – The Island’s MP, Andrew Turner has today said:

“I’m very pleased with the results sent to me by Mr Humphrys.  It is very encouraging to see that over the last year the Island has done particularly well.  Of the 14 designated bathing waters 7 achieved ‘good’ and 7 ‘excellent’.

“Clearly this is very good news for our important tourism industry and local bathers alike.”

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