A team of residents fighting to restore the river Erme to its natural state are calling for people to fill out their public consultation questionnaire in a bid to counteract pollution in the river.

The group of local people are hoping to make Coastguards Beach a designated bathing location, which will help in their endeavour to clean up the river Erme. 

Emily Woodley, a local swimmer and beach-goer who is part of the initiative, explained why the team decided to get involved: “Our reason for looking into this in the first place, other than people being ill from swimming in the water or noticing not quite as many fish, or quite as many crabs, was some data from last year that came out about Mothecombe, which is just round the corner from Coastguards.”

The startling data shows that Mothecombe Beach is ranked 10th of all beaches in England and Wales for sewage overflows in 2022. 

“But (its) not just sewage,” added Emily. “(Its) other run off including from towns, roads, land and our gardens.  It all flows out to sea through the mouth of the river Erme at Coastguards Beach. The data revealed shocking amounts of pollution.”

The group have put together a public consultation, where they want people to support the bathing water designation proposal so they can convey as much public support as possible to The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The deadline is Saturday September 30th so they are imploring people to act quickly. 

Emily added: “We know there’s a massive problem, but we didn’t realise how big the problem was until we saw some of the data.”

“This is one of the only legislative routes that can help us... Designation would give us formal monitoring of water quality and an organisation responsible for improving water quality if it falls below standard.” 

The team have received “huge support” from Surfers against Sewage and their Protecting Wild Waters Campaign, which helps to build the skills of people in communities that are looking to apply for a bathing water designation. The important work of this organisation is helping raise awareness of the issues with water pollution in the UK and giving swimming communities a voice.

After the consultation, DEFRA will decide if its a big enough issue. There will then be a national consultation, and the team hope that the environmental agency will then test the water over the next year and give the beach a ranking.

To fill out the questionnaire, visit: http://ermeriver.org