In order to highlight the improvements the European Union has made to the quality of bathing water in the UK Paul Brannen, Labour Member of the European Parliament for the North East of England, has decided to see for himself by taking a dip in the sea at various places along the North East coast.
Paul donned union flag shorts and armed with a union flag beach towel and swam in the sea at Bamburgh, Whitley Bay, Seaburn, Hartlepool and Saltburn.
Paul has obtained data through the European Parliament which shows in 1995 that over half of UK bathing waters were classified as poor but that has reduced to under 3% today. The number of bathing waters rated as excellent was just 12.43% in 1995 but this has risen to 63% today.
The Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive and the Bathing Waters Directive led the push to clean up the nation’s beaches, and is largely responsible for the greatly improved water quality across the region.
The first European bathing water directive was Directive was adopted in 1976 and in 2006 it was replaced by the Revised Bathing Water Directive.
Paul Brannen MEP said:
“The transformation of our air, rivers and beaches has come about because we decided to work together with our European neighbours to agree common standards.
“It’s been a bit of a trek, but I can say that it was totally worth a bit of cold and wet to highlight the massive difference the European Union has made to our beaches.
“Environmental issues don’t stop at borders and only by working together can we protect our environment.
“We are making the case to remain in the European Union because it is good for jobs and trade as well as workers’ and consumer rights and helping to keep peace in Europe for over 70 years.
“I hope everyone in the region recognises that the EU has made changes to their quality of life that they may not even think about, beaches being only one of many examples.”
The EU referendum takes place on the 23rd of June and people have until the 7th of June to register to vote if they haven’t already.