HEAVY rain has washed away the Blue Flag from Bognor Regis.
The deluges of the early summer mean the town’s bathing water has failed the top quality standard required to be able to continue to fly the flag.
As predicted in the Observer last month, the sheer amount of rainfall has polluted the sea through run-offs from overflowing gutters.
This, combined with a lack of UV light from sunshine needed to kill bacteria in the water, means recent bathing water samples taken by the Environment Agency were poorer than the European standard needed to keep the Blue Flag flying.
All the samples still passed the minimum safety standard for the amount of bacteria to show the sea can still be swum in.
Arun District Council’s cabinet member for environmental services, Cllr Paul Dendle, said: “While it is disappointing Bognor beach has so narrowly missed the water quality standard required to keep its Blue Flag stauts, it by no means detracts from the hard work Arun’s foreshores staff and contractors put into keeping the beach clean, safe and one of the area’s star attractions.
“I would like to emphasise the beach remains firmly open for business.”
Bognor’s east beach between the pier and Gloucester Road has met the Blue Flag standards for the past two years.
But it has joined ten others - including Littlehampton - in being stripped of the flag, run by Keep Britain Tidy, because of this summer’s torrential rain.
The beach still keeps its national Quality Coast Award from Keep Britain Tidy to guarantee its status as one of the best in the country.
Nigel Lynn, Arun’s chief executive, said: “The council will continue to do all it can to promote Bognor as a quality, safe and attractive seaside resort.”
It will be October before Arun knows from Keep Britain Tidy if it can enter Bognor for a Blue Flag for the summer of 2013.