FEARS that pollution could force a number of beaches including Lancing Beach Green to close are unfounded, according to the Environment Agency.
Bathing water at Beach Green has met minimum standards every year since 2010 but was rated as ‘poor’ in a report published in December, and may fail when new, higher standards are brought in next year.
Nevertheless, an Environment Agency spokesman said news reports focussing on beach closures were ‘alarmist’ and said no beach would actually be closed for failing tests.
Instead signs will warn bathers of the risk.
“We recognise that the local beaches are important to the local community and we want all of our bathing waters to meet the new standards,” he said.
“There is also no ‘black list’ as such but we are of course focussing on those waters that do not yet meet those standards.”
Of 20 tests carried out during the summer of 2013 at Beach Green, 16 reached the higher standard, three reached minimum levels and one failed, when harmful bacteria levels exceeded 2,000 particles per 100ml of water.
“While bathing water quality has improved significantly in recent decades, more needs to be done to ensure our bathing waters meet revised Bathing Water Directive standards,” said the spokesman.
“Water companies, businesses, farmers, local authorities and members of the public all have important roles to play to help improve the quality of bathing waters and we are working collectively towards achieving positive outcomes for those bathing waters at risk.”
Pollution at Lancing Beach was discussed at a meeting last week between Adur and Worthing Councils, the EA, Lancing Parish Council and Southern Water.
The EA said it would take measures throughout the 2014 bathing season to ensure standards were met, including using new sampling methods at different times and in different places, as well as carrying out surveys to find the source of any pollution.
The councils and the EA will also work together to predict and warn bathers of short-term pollution outbreaks caused by rain washing bacteria from farms, roads and sewers into the sea.