Volunteers spent 88 hrs completing surveys of beach users in 2023
Volunteers spent 88 hrs completing surveys of beach users in 2023

VOLUNTEERS have been left baffled by claims from Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley that he secured the recently issued bathing water designations. 

Residents across Worthing have been celebrating recently after DEFRA confirmed that applications for two new bathing water areas at East Beach and Goring have been successful – meaning the water quality will be tested at regular intervals across the year.

But Worthing Borough councillors and resident volunteers have been left confused by the Father of the House and Worthing West MP, Sir Peter Bottomley, who has claimed responsibility for the success of the result.

Sir Peter wrote on his Facebook page; 

“The Environment Secretary has announced special protection for two popular stretches of coast in Worthing following a successful appeal by myself and a positive application from Worthing Borough Council….We achieve a lot when we work together in tandem.”

Responding to the post, Cllr Vicki Wells, Cabinet Member for the Environment at Worthing Borough Council, said; 

“I’m astonished but sadly not surprised by this statement. At no stage in the journey for Worthing to achieve these new designations did we see, hear or have any engagement from Sir Peter or local Conservative Councillors to assist with these frankly, valiant efforts.

It is the hard work and the dedication of local residents, Councillors and officers physically obtaining and submitting data that has earned these designations for Worthing, not our current Worthing West MP, who is clearly attempting to rewrite history.

It has taken 35 years and a Labour administration to improve local water monitoring. This is a result of a lot of organisation and very hard work from local folk who have spent two years devoted to improving coastal water quality.”

Local swimming group, the Bluetits fully supported the work and encouraged the volunteer surveyors at Goring Gap. Pamela Boulton, one of the group’s administrators said;

“We did not see Sir Peter once when surveys were happening on the beach, nor did we have any contact with him at any stage. It seems rather out of order for him to now appear to take all the credit for it.”  

Community volunteers signed up to record the numbers of bathers at the two locations – East Beach and Goring Gap between May and September last year. 

Council officers produced survey sheets and Cllr Wells worked out the long term, most favourable weather conditions with the most suitable tide times and organised the volunteers for both locations. 

Volunteers tagged each other in hour-long slots, for four hours per day, on six of the hottest days of the bathing season. A public consultation saw 599 responses, overwhelmingly in favour of the designations.

Volunteer Mark Swindall said;

“Many congratulations are due for putting in place the mechanism and overseeing the implementation of this tremendous result. Cllr Wells’ persistence and perseverance have been remarkable and the outcome is a testament to this and to the team effort.”

Democratic charity, They Work For You critiques MP’s voting records in Parliament.

On environmental issues, including reducing the harm caused by untreated sewage discharges, They Work For You shows the Conservative MP for Worthing West has generally voted against improving environmental water quality.  

Meanwhile in Worthing, across the three bathing designations, Environment Agency officers will start water quality testing from 15 May. New signage is also being installed at the designations to inform swimmers of the daily water quality during the bathing season.



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