Views Sought for Bathing Water Designation Plans
South Tyneside Council is proposing that Littlehaven Beach be classified as a designated bathing water beach and is asking for the public's views.
The move comes following updated Government guidance under the Bathing Waters Regulations 2013. To meet the criteria, a proposed designated bathing water must be a coastal or inland water, have at least 100 bathers a day during bathing season (15 May to 30 September) and have toilet facilities within a short distance (up to about 500m from the site).
In line with the guidance, the Council has launched a six-week consultation today (Friday 18 August) inviting local people, visitors, groups and stakeholders to have their say.
If the Council's application is approved by the Government, it would mean that the water quality at Littlehaven Beach would be regularly monitored and tested by the Environment Agency during the annual bathing season, before being given a bathing water classification of 'poor', 'sufficient', 'good' or 'excellent'.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Neighbourhoods and Climate Change at South Tyneside Council, said: "Littlehaven is a beautiful part of our coastline. It is much loved by both residents and visitors and an extremely popular spot for sea swimming and water sports.
"Given the number of people who enjoy our seaside all year round and regularly use Littlehaven, it would be great to see the beach receive bathing water designation and undergo regular water quality monitoring.
"Having this official designation would help us better protect the health of those entering the water at this location as well as give visitors up to date information and the confidence to make an informed decision before taking a dip.
"We want seafront visitors to tell us whether they think Littlehaven should be added to the list of designated bathing waters nationally."
The Council is welcoming people's views until the closing date of 30 September 2023, ahead of its application to the Government for Littlehaven to become a designated bathing water site.
If the application is accepted, DEFRA will carry out a round of national public consultation before taking a final decision in spring 2024. If successful, water quality testing would begin next summer.
Annual water quality testing is already carried out at Sandhaven Beach and Marsden Bay - both designated bathing waters.
Councillor Gibson added: "We work hard to protect our communities and this particular part of the coastline has undergone a great deal of investment over the last decade. The creation of Littlehaven Seawall and Promenade has revitalised the area providing an improved coastal defence as well as a stunning visitor attraction.
"Bathing water designation builds on these improvements and would provide reassurance to beach goers that water quality is being monitored. It would also support the work we are doing as a Council following our ocean recovery declaration, Motion for the Ocean, and provide the data needed for action to be taken if minimum standards are not met."
Members of the public can submit any comments or concerns via email to LLFA@southtyneside.gov.uk or in writing to Environmental Sustainability, South Tyneside Council, Town Hall and Civic Offices, Westoe Road, South Shields, NE33 2RL.
For further information about the consultation visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/littlehavenconsultation