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Anglian Water given go-ahead for legal challenge over decision by Environment Agency to downgrade classification of water quality at three Lincolnshire beaches

Anglian Water has secured permission for a judicial review challenge over the Environment Agency’s classification of the quality of the bathing waters for three beaches in Lincolnshire.

The Agency downgraded the classification of the Cleethorpes, Humberston Fitties and Ingoldmells South beaches from “excellent” to “good”.

Barristers' chambers Francis Taylor Building said the foundation of Anglian Water’s complaint was that the Agency downgraded the beaches' classification despite the occurrence of “short term pollution” and/or an “abnormal situation” within the meaning of the Bathing Water Regulations 2013 caused by extreme and exceptional rainfall in June 2019.

“In particular, Anglian Water complains that the EA based its classification of the water quality at those beaches based on samples taken on 12 and 13 June,” it said.

FTB said the Environment Agency contends amongst other things that the local council’s failure to display the correct signage on the days in question (on beaches being lashed with torrential rain) prevents the operation of the “short term pollution” procedures in the Regulations, that an “abnormal situation” (not having been declared at the time) cannot be declared after the event and that exclusion of the samples in issue would not lead to the reclassification of the bathing waters in any event.

Meyric Lewis of Francis Taylor Building is acting for Anglian Water instructed by Steve Leader, solicitor for Anglian Water Services Limited.

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