Robbie Moore MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with responsibility for Water and Rural Affairs joined MP for North Devon, Selaine Saxby to meet with local campaigners, South West Water (SWW) and the Environment Agency (EA) in Combe Martin and Croyde.
Selaine Saxby MP said:
“It was great to have Robbie Moore MP, Minister for Water, in North Devon to meet Combe Martin Water Watch representatives and hear about all the great work that they have been doing over ten years with both South West Water and the Environment Agency to improve the water quality across our coastlines.
Combe Martin is an exceptionally difficult catchment area. Everyone has been required to pull together to maintain the area due to the geography and design of the beach with its weir. I wanted to highlight to the Minister what a motivated community can achieve with the support of landowners, water companies and the EA.
We then went to Croyde and met with Cllr Pru Maskell for Braunton Rural and Ruda Holiday Park to discuss water testing and how, by doing so, we can both improve water quality, and give those who use the water the confidence that the beach is maintained to an excellent standard.”
The Minister said:
“Thank you to Selaine for inviting me along, she has been lobbying me incredibly hard to come and visit. What we have seen today is actually where systems work, we have been on a beach with an excellent water designation. It shows that when you do put the effort in on a catchment wide approach, you can have the benefits, and that is not only good for improving water quality, but also good for the local economy.
It is important that we prioritise improving water quality and this Government is absolutely determined to do that through its Plan for Water.”
It was raised through the meetings that accurate, timely and consistent reporting of water quality was vital as often different organisations report the differently.
Selaine Saxby MP added:
“It is understandable that there may be times when swimming is not advised. However, the number of alerts regarding water quality can be confusing and inconsistent, meaning accurate data doesn’t always get transmitted to everyone that needs it.
We discussed the possibility of providing daily testing at bathing beaches with the help of the EA and met with locals who care about how we can even better improve our water quality. I look forward to hearing about how we can start offering this assurance to those who want to enjoy the water, both locals and tourists, all year round in North Devon. It was also re-emphasised that the most accurate information about bathing water quality is from the EA on their Swimfo site.”