Senior councillor says those concerned about ‘poor’ bathing water quality in Scarborough should ‘use the North Bay’
A senior North Yorkshire councillor has suggested that people concerned about the Environment Agency’s “poor” rating of bathing water in Scarborough South Bay should instead “use the beach in the North Bay”.
The council’s executive member for the environment, Cllr Greg White, was asked about the water quality in the South Bay and whether the authority would financially support an upcoming investigation into local marine pollution by the Environment Agency (EA).
Speaking at a full meeting of the council on Wednesday, July 19, Cllr White said: “I would urge anyone who’s thinking of going to Scarborough to enjoy themselves and walk along the promenade, enjoy an ice cream on the south side, and then if they fancy a swim, to go along to the north side in front of those beautifully coloured beach chalets and enjoy yourself and go for a swim as well.”
It followed a question by Scarborough councillor Rich Maw, who raised the financial and environmental impact of “red flag” warnings on local beaches.
Cllr Maw said: “Having dirty sea water is certain to wreak havoc on the local economy by effectively closing the area’s biggest asset to its biggest money maker: tourists.”
He added: “The EA will be carrying out investigative work in the South Bay in 2024 – can you confirm the council’s financial commitment to co-funding that work so that we have a detailed forensic analysis of the factors causing poor water quality?”
When pressed for an answer on helping to fund the EA’s investigative work, Cllr White responded: “I think you’ll find that responsibility for cleaning up this water lies with the EA and the water companies, it does not lie with North Yorkshire Council.”
The executive member added: “We will do what we can to support them but I will not be making any financial commitment and if I did, I think I’d be in trouble with Cllr Dadd [executive member for finance].”
The water quality at Scarborough’s South Bay is rated as “poor” on the Environment Agency’s Swimfo website which has also issued “advice against bathing.”
However, the town’s North Bay beach recently received a Blue Flag award for high standards of cleanliness from the Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy.
In June, officers from the Environment Agency met with councillors in Scarborough to discuss ongoing projects and admitted that more work needed to be done locally.
At the meeting, councillors also passed a cross-party motion that called for “accurate measuring of the effluent from all sea outfall pipes at their source area across both North and South Bays.”