Beach sewage inspections to be scaled back

The Environment Agency has told its officials to cut back on inspections of bathing water pollution incidents and rely instead on water company assessments.

England has more than 400 designated bathing waters from beaches to lakes in the Cotswolds and The Serpentine river in London. However, some are regularly hit by sewage spills including those that have plagued the Isle of Wight, a Cornish cove and beaches along the southeast coast in recent weeks.

Despite rising public concern over the issue, the country’s environment regulator has privately issued guidance that weakens its inspection regime when people report pollution incidents.

One UN campaigner said the shift was “like asking an arsonist to assess fire damage” and a “hammer blow” to clean water efforts.

Previously, for the

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