Cornwall hit headlines due to raw sewage alerts off its coast, as 80 percent of its beaches received a “sewage pollution alert” last month.

According to the group Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) which monitors water quality across 68 beaches in the region, 33 beaches received the warning, with 21 others receiving a “pollution risk forecast”.

Because of heavy rainfall, water runoff saw human and animal waste, fertilisers, and pesticides pour into waterways such as rivers.

Contaminated river water eventually reaches the sea, where it can sit on the surface and makes it dangerous to enter the water.

The region’s water company, South West Water, was fined £2.1m for pollution offences in Devon and Cornwall dating from July 2016 to August 2020.

Rubbish removal company, Clear It Waste, found three of the UK’s dirtiest beaches to be in Cornwall.

The study checked out more than 400 beaches across the UK examining factors including sewage and bacteria, including E.coli, present in the water.

Ranking in the top five ‘dirtiest beaches’ in the UK were Porthluney, Par Sands and Long Rock Beach.

Long Rock Beach ranked fifth in the table with a water cleanliness score of 7.97/10. This is despite its high average count of E.faecalis measuring 262 cfu/100 ml, according to Cornwall Live.

One TripAdvisor user, Aequitas6, said the beach was “a bit dirty and smelly”. They said: “You wouldn’t want to lie out here or go swimming. It gets quite small when the tide is in…. Unless you are desperate to walk your dog here go somewhere else.”

Cornwall’s Par Sands was fourth in the rankings and has an overall water cleanliness score of 7.81/10. This is despite having the lowest E.faecalis count in the Southwest (80 cfu/100 ml) and it also boasts the lowest E.Coli count in the Southwest (38 cfu/100 ml).

Users on the TripAdvisor platform also say the beach “feels dirty”. Reviewer, cltc43, says the beach is a mixture of “sand, gravel and mud”.

They explained: “When the tide is out, looks quite unappealing, especially as it appears dirty and is dominated by dog walkers.”

Cornwall’s Porthluney Beach has the highest ranking in the region, coming second on the ‘dirtiest beaches in the UK’ list, with an overall water cleanliness score of 7.55/10. With an average count of 75 cfu/100 ml of E.coli in the water, Porthluney’s water was assessed and classified by the Environment Agency back in 2022.

SAS highlighted the impacted beaches were Portmellon, East Looe, Seaton, Mawgan Porth and Haryln Bay this weekend with an alert on Saturday. The alert said: “Storm sewage has been discharged from a sewer overflow in this location within the past 48 hours.”

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