THE bathing water off Lancing Beach Green achieved the lowest possible rating in a recent quality report carried out by the Environment Agency.
By classifying the water quality as ‘poor’, the report has likened Lancing to some of the country’s most contaminated bathing spots.
Out of almost 100 bathing areas across the South East whose water was tested, only four were rated as ‘poor’, with Southsea, Hastings and Walpole Bay in Margate joining Lancing at the foot of the table.
In a similar report published in 2012, Lancing performed slightly better, achieving a rating of ‘sufficient’.
A separate study carried out this year by Defra revealed that water off Lancing Beach Green fell short of guideline standards due to the levels of E. coli and intestinal enterococci, a bacterium found in faeces.
The water did, however, achieve the Government’s minimum requirements.
An Environment Agency spokesman said: “Lancing’s bathing water meets the minimum standards of the current Bathing Water Directive but not the higher guideline standard.
“Bathing water quality can deteriorate after heavy rainfall even at the highest quality bathing waters due to run-off from the surrounding land.
“We are working with the local authority and water company to investigate and rectify pollution sources that may be impacting Lancing bathing water.
“For advice on health risks from swimming in bathing waters please contact the local authority.”
Meanwhile, a Southern Water spokesman said: “Lancing passed the current EU standard for bathing water quality this year.
“It’s important to note, from 2015 under the revised Bathing Water Directive, new higher quality standards will be introduced for bathing water quality.
“Therefore, a lower classification does will not necessarily mean a drop in bathing water quality.
“There are many factors outside of our control which can affect the quality of bathing water, such as sewer misconnections and run-off from roads and agricultural land.
“We are committed to helping improve the quality of bathing water, alongside local authorities and the Environment Agency.”
It is predicted that Lancing Beach Green will achieve a ‘poor’ rating again in 2015.