Monday, May 31, 2010

À l'eau, c'est l'heure*

One of the things I like about the EU (and there's not damned many) are some their environmental regulations. I'm not talking about their bizarre obsession with global warming climate change or their profligacy with spending our money on weird stuff like carbon capture. No, this is about beaches and blue flags. Years ago sewage was just pumped raw into the seas around Britain, it wasn't treated and usually wasn't pumped far enough out so that it didn't make a return on the incoming tide. Part of this goes way back to the Victorians and Sir Joseph William Bazalgette who was requested by the UK Parliament to deal with the "Great stink" and came up with the first modern sewage system out of London and into storage to be pumped into the Thames downstream on the outgoing tide. I worked well until population growth and other towns and cities got into the act and the quality of water on Britain's beaches started to suffer. (Though I suspect all the bacteria in the water made for hardier kids, certainly more disease resistant ones). Sewage wasn't the only thing dumped at sea either mine waste was dumped too including chemicals some of the beaches in county Durham were black with the mine tailings. A lot of the rivers in the UK were dead zones for fish as well. Still once the EU came along in the 80's and started giving awards for clean beaches it was discovered that most of the UK's beaches failed the water cleanliness regs/standards they used. Well things have moved on since then...

Almost every beach in England and Wales meets Europe's highest cleanliness standards, the Environment Agency says.
Tests reveal the quality of water in 97% of bathing sites is sufficiently good to be classified "excellent".
But the agency says the results were based on early season sampling and could change over the coming months.
It says the recent spell of good weather and action to reduce pollution from farms and sewer overflows are responsible for the improved results.
Last week the Marine Conservation Society rated 421 of 769 UK beaches as excellent - 33 more than 2009, but below the 505 rated highly in 2006.
Its annual Good Beach Guide revealed more beaches have excellent water quality than last year, but pollution has worsened since 2006.
The Environment Agency tests show a rise in the number it classifies as excellent of almost a fifth, from 76% 10 years ago to the current 97%.
Now they're tightening the regulations again in 2015, we'll probably still be in the EU then despite my fondest hopes unless it descends into civil war and the Germans decide to take their twice a century trip to Paris in force. The possible collapse of the €uro wont help either, but bureaucracies have a tendency to survive unless the bureaucrats are exterminated, even then we tend to appoint new ones to deal with the paperwork. But it's nice that our beaches are clean.

* That was a pune, or play on words.

8 annotations:

Anonymous said...

Re the EU.

I reckon Germany with the Benelux countries, plus Austria plus possibly the Scandinavians, will leave the EU within 18 months, team up with Russia, to form a new union.

Details of the union are sketchy right now, but the union would have many advantages over the current one.

It could be earlier if Sarky punches the table one more time and threatens to leave if the German taxpayers fail to provide more bailouts....which may very well happen short term, as France appears in danger of a ratings downgrade in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Trooper Thompson said...

"France appears in danger of a ratings downgrade in the near future."

Aren't we all?


I agree about the benefits of clean beaches, but, like all the other benefits of the EU, it is quite realisable without the need for handing over our sovereignty to the Brussels gang.

James Higham said...

we'll probably still be in the EU then

Beg to differ.

Mrs Rigby said...

"À l'eau, c'est l'heure* " - Very clever!

We were more than capable of clearing away rubbish/pollution before the EU happened. They started on the Thames (fixing pollution from bombed sewers, industrial effluent etc) in the sixties, salmon were back by early seventies. So we don't need the EU to tell us how to be clean, and which bits of Britain might not be clean enough.

So, can we leave please?

Quiet_Man said...

@ Trooper, you're right, it's just an EU policy I agree with is all, I don't like the EU full stop though.

@ James. Hope you're right.

@ Mrs R, yes, we really do need to leave.

Trooper Thompson said...

Thank you for pointing out the pun, Mrs R, it went whistling past me the first time!

Anonymous said...

As others have said, I really don't think we needed the EU to tell us it was time to stop pouring raw sewage into the sea...

Especially when the price was surrendering the whole country to the "colleagues".