Morecambe beach named on swimming charity’s list of beaches to avoid

A swimming charity has issued warnings about dozens of UK beaches - including one in Morecambe - amid claims sewage water has been discharged into the sea this week.
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New pollution alerts from Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) have been announced after heavy rainfall in recent days, which they say has caused waste water to be discharged into the sea.

Members of the public have been told to steer clear of 83 beaches across the country, including Morecambe North.

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On their website at, Surfers Against Sewage warn that Morecambe North has had storm sewage discharged from a sewer overflow within the past 48 hours.

The Environment Agency say Morecambe beaches are currently safe for swimming. Photo: Kelvin StuttardThe Environment Agency say Morecambe beaches are currently safe for swimming. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
The Environment Agency say Morecambe beaches are currently safe for swimming. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Storm overflows are designed to allow sewers to overflow into rivers and the sea when they reach their capacity from torrential rain. If the sewage is not released, it can flow into streets.

The data on storm overflow use is used by SAS as part of the information they collate when producing their alerts.

However, the Environment Agency's Swimfo app does not have Morecambe North listed as being at risk currently - the nearest alert they have listed is for Blackpool North.

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And an Environment Agency spokesman said they have no current issues with Morecambe’s beaches, and advise those wishing to use the beaches to check their app or online at for the latest guidance.

The spokesperson added: “Storm overflows are a necessary part of the current sewerage network. They act as relief valves which prevent the system from overloading during high rainfall which would otherwise result in sewage flooding homes, roads and open spaces.

"We are holding the water industry to account on a scale never seen before –securing record fines of over £142m since 2015 against water companies, launching a major criminal investigation into potential non-compliance at wastewater treatment works, and driving up monitoring and transparency to ensure the public can see what is going on.

"We will always seek to hold those responsible for environmental harm to account.”

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Last August we reported swimmers' concerns about the state of the sea in Morecambe and Heysham, with some saying they had seen human faeces floating among them as they swam.

However, United Utilities said they had "definitely not had any incidents or released any raw sewage".

Coun Dave Brookes, Lancaster City Council cabinet member with responsibility for environmental services, said: "Following concerns raised over the summer last year that sewage may have been discharged into Morecambe Bay, we had a number of meetings with United Utilities to better understand the situation.

“It is the case that sewers and wastewater treatment works are designed to overflow once their storage capacity is exceeded, which can happen during periods of prolonged and intense rainfall, releasing water containing untreated sewage into rivers or the sea.

"Water companies have conditional permits from the Environment Agency that allow them to do this, although they are also required to carry out improvement works to reduce the frequency of these events.

“Over the last decade United Utilities has upgraded stormwater storage at Morecambe Wastewater Treatment Works, Schola Green Pumping Station, and in the centre of Lancaster with a large underground tank next to the bus station, so we can see that significant investments have been made.

"But we need our bathing waters to be of the highest possible quality, and we know that climate change will lead to extreme weather events becoming more common, so more needs to be done.

“Everyone can do their bit to protect our bathing waters. Another cause of sewage overflows is blocked pipes. Simple measures such as disposing of kitchen fats in a container in the bin rather than down the sink, and not flushing wet wipes down the toilet will all help to stop blockages forming and sewers overflowing.”