Phil Wilson

Fighting for the issues that matter most to you

How the EU helped clean up our beaches


Many EU achievements are not well publicised. But across the UK the great work done by the EU is evident, particularly along our coastline.

Thanks to the successes of the EU, 95% of beaches across the UK are clean enough to swim in.  

60% of UK beaches have even been awarded the new “Excellent” under the 2006 EU Bathing Water Directive.

These clean beaches don’t just make the UK coastline look pretty though, they help attract tourism which provides a boost to local economies.

But, we haven’t always treated our beaches with this respect. In the 1970’s untreated sewage was pumped straight into the sea, and even when the EU’s 1976 Bathing Water Directive was introduced, the UK fought hard to retain the right to pollute our oceans.

The UK government continued to exploit loopholes, and sewage was pumped into the sea until 1998.

Without the EU it is highly unlikely that the UK would boast the magnificent and clean coastlines that it does today.

But, if the Britain votes to leave the EU, it is very probable that standards will slip, as the UK would no longer be subject to the Bathing Water Directive.

And if standards slip? Well, this could have an adverse effect on tourism across the UK, and negatively impact our seaside economies.

Remaining in the EU however, would protect our beaches. It would ensure that the beautiful British coastline continues to attract tourists which in turn helps seaside towns across the country.

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