Three of the island’s beaches have failed to meet water quality standards.
The beaches at Peel, Kirk Michael and Ramsey have each failed to meet the minimum EU standard according to the latest edition of the Good Beach Guide.
Having maintained the minimum standard for the last five years, Kirk Michael and Ramsey have each been relegated in the latest edition, which is produced annually by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).
Peel beach, which also failed last year, has not met the minimum standard in three of the last four years.
The ratings are based on samples supplied to the MCS by local authorities during the previous summer.
Failure indicates that a beach has not met the minimum standard set down by the 1976 EU Bathing Directive.
However, the findings do show a general improvement in the island’s water quality. In last year’s guide, seven of the island’s 19 monitored beaches failed.
Castletown and Derbyhaven have each retained the highest rating of ‘recommended’ by the MCS for their ‘excellent water quality’.
Three other local beaches have achieved recommended status this year: Bay ny Carrickey, Port Grenaugh and Port St Mary, alongside a record number from around the UK.
Of the 734 beaches in the British Isles that were sampled by the MCS in 2013, only 14 failed, including the three Manx beaches.
The MCS suggested that last year’s dry summer may have minimised sewage overflows and runoff of pollutants from the land into bathing areas.
In a statement, the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture described the failures as ‘regrettable’ but noted that this had been the island’s ‘best year to date’.
They suggested that the dry summer and improvements in sewage treatment around the north and west of the island have led to improvements in bathing water quality.
But with the current standards used to measure water quality soon to be replaced by a stricter directive from the EU, DEFA warned that the island’s future ratings were uncertain: ‘As bathing water quality standards are tightened internationally, they are likely to become more of a challenge to meet, and it is uncertain at this time how our bathing water will be rated by the MCS in future years.’
The changes may relegate other Manx beaches which have been rated at the minimum standard this year: Peel’s Fenella Beach, Port Erin, Garwick, Glen Wyllin, Port Lewaigue and three beach zones in Douglas bay which are measured separately.
Jurby, Laxey and Port Soderick have received the ‘guideline’ rating in the 2014 guide, placing them above the minimum standard but below full MCS recommendation.