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Beach goers told not to go into sea at Sunny Sands, Folkestone

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People are being advised to stay out of the water at a beach in the county today.

Coastal charity Folkestone Rescue has raised a red flag to keep people out of the sea off the Sunny Sands beach in Folkestone.

It shared the warning on its Facebook page this morning.

A red flag warning has been issued for Sunny Sands beach in Folkestone. Picture: Creative commons
A red flag warning has been issued for Sunny Sands beach in Folkestone. Picture: Creative commons

It's believed the recent rainfall has reduced the water quality near the Sunny Sands stretch with potential pollution.

A statement on the charity's website said: "Due to recent heavy rain, reduced water quality has been predicted at Sunny Sands and the surrounding area.

"We have issued a red flag, and are asking people to keep out of the water for their own safety."

Folkestone Sunny Sands last month. Picture: Paul Amos
Folkestone Sunny Sands last month. Picture: Paul Amos

The statement includes a photograph of a sign by Folkestone and Hythe District Council, which blames heavy rain for the predicted drop in water quality.

A spokesman for Folkestone & Hythe District Council said: "We received notification from the Environment Agency that there was a risk of poor water quality at Sunny Sands beach due to the heavy rain over night.

"We put out the sign to advise people not to swim in the sea because of this potential risk.

"It is perfectly safe to paddle in the water and to enjoy the beach but we do not recommend swimming in the sea until the water quality improves.

"This is usually around 24 hours."

The Environment Agency website noted the potential pollution for Folkestone, stating: "This bathing water is subject to short term pollution.

"Short term pollution is caused when heavy rainfall washes faecal material into the sea from livestock, sewage and urban drainage via rivers and streams.

"At this site the risk of encountering reduced water quality increases after rainfall and typically returns to normal after 1-3 days.

"The Environment Agency makes daily pollution risk forecasts based on rainfall patterns and will issue a pollution risk warning if heavy rainfall occurs to enable bathers to avoid periods of increased risk."

A spokesman for the Enviroment Agency said that the short term warning is relatively standard practice after heavy rainfall in an area like Folkestone, which can cause what they call 'urban run off'.

They say they are 'confident' the water quality will return tomorrow, and the usual water quality classification in the area is 'excellent'.

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