“The last time I went in I’m surprised I didn’t come out with a sixth toe”
(Image: Lancs Live/Jude Tolson)
The world famous Blackpool coast attracts thousands of visitors each year, and many will be cool off in the Irish sea. But swimmers are being advised that this stretch of water is unsuitable for bathing.
The popular coastline has four stretches that are designated bathing waters, and eight across the Fylde coast which are monitored by the Environment Agency from May to September taking 20 samples at each site every year. These sites must meet European guidelines of water quality, with the aim of protecting the health of people who may want to swim, paddle or even just splash and play there.
Blackpool North is described as a large, sandy beach opposite the Blackpool Tower between the North and Central Piers. The sea defence behind this beach is approximately five metres high and runs the entire length of the bathing water. Despite having such a huge stretch of sea to take a dip, many residents wouldn’t dare enter the sea, even if you paid them.
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We spoke to a number of Blackpool residents, and nearly all of them vehemently said they wouldn’t ever set foot in Blackpool Sea.
Among those avoiding Blackpool’s coast is Shanice Bailey. Despite living in Blackpool her whole life, she’s never fancied taking a dip. She said: “I never go to the beach. It’s a resounding no from me. It doesn’t surprise me that the water quality is poor.
“I remember at the start of Covid where they were saying it’s the best quality its ever been and it was super clear and all that. Now Covid is over and the crackheads are back and they’re throwing stuff in the sea.”
Rob Eglon added: “The last time I went in I’m surprised I didn’t come out with a sixth toe. You wouldn’t catch me in the sea, no chance.”
“I’d say I’d let my dogs go in it, but I wouldn’t go in after them.”
Faheem Umerji is another resident who wouldn’t step foot in the sea. He said: “Well to be fair I can’t swim for starters. But its cold as anything. It doesn’t surprise me that the quality of the water is poor. You couldn’t pay me to swim in there.”
Cllr Jane Hugo, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment said: “Since the new bathing water directive was introduced in 2015 we have always had positive results and have been proud to fly Blue Flags and Seaside Awards over our beaches.
“It is disappointing that next year Blackpool North will not have this honour, especially after all the efforts from ourselves, partners, local residents and businesses.
“The bathing waters either side of Blackpool North have been classed as sufficient and excellent which shows that there isn’t an issue with the quality of bathing water along our coastline. The Environment Agency has provided DNA evidence that means we are confident that this is a localised issue caused by seabirds.
“The samples are taken close to North Pier where we know that seabirds congregate both underneath the pier and as a result of people leaving food on the Spanish steps.
“We will be speaking to the RSPB and pier owners as a matter of urgency to see what steps can be taken ahead of the next samples being taken in May.
- 05:20, 6 FEB 2023