Sewage alert for 50 beaches as swimmers warned to stay out of water

18 August 2022, 08:40 | Updated: 18 August 2022, 08:49

Swimmers are being warned to stay out of the water [Stock image]
Swimmers are being warned to stay out of the water [Stock image]. Picture: SAS/Getty Images

Sewage is polluting 50 beaches across the UK, with swimmers being warned to stay out of the water.

Swimmers have been warned to stay out of the sea at some beaches due to high levels of sewage.

Environmental campaign group Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) has created an interactive map of the UK coastline which shows pollution risk warnings across almost 50 coastlines.

Popular summer holiday hotspots including Cornwall, Devon, Yarmouth and Exmouth have all been impacted after heavy rain, as well as beaches on the Isle of Wight.

Southend beach in Essex has been affected
Southend beach in Essex has been affected. Picture: Getty Images

With the most concentrated areas of pollution across the south coast, Southend-on-Sea and Newquay have also both been badly affected and four beaches had to be closed this week.

Southern Water is one of the water companies responsible for some of the worst affected regions.

A spokesperson for the company said: "There were thunderstorms accompanied by heavy rain the night before last and yesterday [Tuesday]. Storm releases were made to protect homes, schools and businesses from flooding.

“The release is 95-97% rainwater and so should not be described as raw sewage.

Sewage is reportedly being released into UK seas
Sewage is reportedly being released into UK seas. Picture: Alamy

"We know customers do not like that the industry has to rely on these [discharges] to protect them, and we are pioneering a new approach."

This comes as video footage has been shared on Twitter showing what appears to be dirty water being released into the sea at Seaford in East Sussex.

Meanwhile, the Environment Agency has said that sewage pollution could be "devastating to human health, local biodiversity and our environment".

Chief executive of Surfers Against Sewage, Hugo Tagholm, added: "Our rivers and beaches are once again being treated as open sewers. Years of underinvestment are now in plain sight."

Some of the beaches affected by the contamination include:

  • 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