SEA water quality in Cemaes Bay has been improved and is now rated as ‘good’ in the Welsh Government’s annual Bathing Water Quality classifications.

Water quality at Cemaes has, in the past, been classed as ‘poor’. This meant that it was unsuitable for bathing. But this year, it has gone from ‘sufficient’ to ‘good’, largely as a result of continued partnership working.

Since the Cemaes Bay Bathing Water Task Group was established in 2016, there has been a significant joint effort between Isle of Anglesey County Council, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), the local community and others, to improve and retain the bathing water quality standard at Cemaes.

Derek Owen, Chairman of Llanbadrig Community Council, has been heavily involved in the work of the Task Group to date and welcomed the latest announcement: “This improvement in bathing water quality is good news for the local economy as well as the obvious public health benefits of having a high quality environment.

“Coastal communities like ours rely heavily on tourism, and people come here to enjoy clean beaches and good bathing water. So the 2020 classification will be very much welcomed by local businesses and people who live in Cemaes and the surrounding area.”

He added: “We were clearly very concerned when the standard had dropped to poor back in 2016. But I must say that, since the Task Group was set up, we’ve seen a tremendous effort by all parties. It’s been encouraging to see our public bodies working so closely with us in the community, and I’m extremely pleased that this work is clearly paying off.”

In 2018, Isle of Anglesey County Council adopted an innovative bathing water model developed by Aberystwyth University specifically for the quiet, enclosed and sheltered bay at Cemaes. This innovation was funded by the Acclimatize INTERREG project, led by University College Dublin, and is deemed to have played a key part in improving the situation at Cemaes.

Annwen Morgan, Chief Executive of Isle of Anglesey Council and Chair of the Cemaes Task Group said: “Changes to river levels flowing into the bay at Cemaes as a result of rainy weather have affected bathing water quality in the past. The Cemaes bathing water model is valuable because it enables us to improve how we inform and protect bathing water users after rainfall.

“Our officers run the model three times a day on Mondays to Fridays and twice a day on weekends and public holidays. Bathing water quality advice is then given to the public through our dedicated Twitter account - @traethcemaes - and signs at the beach itself.

“We’re very glad to see that this modelling work, combined with the collective efforts of all involved, is bearing fruit, bringing benefits to the entire community as well as visitors.”

A number of other joint initiatives since 2016 have been aimed at establishing and addressing potential sources of short term pollution, which affects water quality in the area.

These include riverbank and agricultural projects in conjunction with the Rivers Trust to improve both the habitat and water quality on Afon Wygyr which flows into the sea at Cemaes.

Sian Williams, NRW Head of Operations in North West Wales said: “The excellent partnership working over the past few years is reflected in the latest water quality results for Cemaes.

“Monitoring and maintaining our natural resources is a cornerstone of the work we do at NRW and collaborating with partners and local communities is vital to achieve long-term environmental improvements.

“Now that Cemaes has been classed as ‘good’, we must not rest on our laurels. Through the Cemaes Task Group, we will continue to carry out work such as engaging with farmers to ensure slurry is stored and spread safely on farm land to prevent run-off. Sections of river have been fenced off to stop livestock entering and we plan to do more of this.

“We’ll also continue to work with Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and local households to check the sewage works and domestic sewage systems to mitigate pollution incidents from all sources.

“By working together to make lots of small improvements we can make a big difference so that we can all enjoy cleaner bathing waters and rivers both now and in the future.”