13 May 2024

Church Cliff Beach redesignated as a bathing water

Church Cliff Beach redesignated as a bathing water

CHURCH Cliff Beach in Lyme Regis has been redesignated as a bathing beach after a two-year campaign. 

Local water quality campaigners, swimmers and many local businesses have been celebrating after receiving the news.

The designation means the water quality at the beach will have to be monitored between May and September by the Environment Agency, with better information provided to the public.

If the water quality isn’t good enough, the Agency has to investigate the causes and identify what’s needed to clean it up.

The campaign has been led by the River Lim Action Group, which applied for the redesignation with the support of Lyme Regis Town Council.

Vicki Elcoate, of the River Lim Action Group, said: “This is excellent news after a lot of effort by the local community, who got right behind the campaign.

“It’s a lever to secure better water quality and the pressure is now on South West Water and the Environment Agency to find a solution to our pollution problems.

“It won’t happen overnight but it’s so much better than having a beach where people swim that isn’t monitored.”

Lyme Regis Town Council’s operations manager Matt Adamson-Drage said: “The town council and I, as the council’s environment officer, are delighted that DEFRA has agreed to designate Church Cliff Beach as a bathing water from May 2024.

“The local community River Lim Action Group has been the driver behind this achievement and are to be congratulated for getting this far.

“The town council has been facilitating meetings with the RLAG, Environment Agency, South West Water and Dorset Council for the last two years and Dorset Councillor Belinda Bawden and MP Chris Loder have been key supporters of the work to clean up the River Lim that leads to this beach.

“We will continue to work with these agencies collaboratively and respectfully to achieve a better outcome for the river and ultimately the front beaches.

“The town council is committed to improving the environment in which we all live; introducing an Environment Committee, committing to a net zero carbon reduction plan by 2030 and recently achieving a Silver Level Carbon Literacy Award – the first town council in the country to do so.”

Bev Glock of the Lyme Regis Bluetits said: “We are super excited to hear that Church Beach has been redesignated.  The swimmers and local Lyme people have put so much effort into achieving this. It’s a huge step forward to help prevent us all swimming in poo.”

Malcolm Greenslade of Lyme Bay Swimming said: “The swimming community here in Lyme Regis is delighted to hear DEFRA have approved the application to re-designate Church Beach as a bathing site.

“It really is great for the town as a year-round resort and it’s what we deserve. Thanks to all the campaigners who have worked so hard to get this through”.

Church Beach in Lyme Regis is one of 27 beaches designated today (Tuesday 13 May), although it is the only one in Dorset.

Others in the south west include the River Tone in French Weir Park, Taunton, and the River Dart estuary at Dittisham, Devon.

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