The bathing waters at Seascale are designated under the Water Framework Directive and must achieve a Good Status by 2015. In 2013 they failed to meet that status. One of the main reasons for failure to meet the appropriate standard is thought to be the diffuse water pollution from agriculture in two watercourses discharging directly onto the beach at Seascale – Whitriggs beck and New Mill beck – found in the CSF West Cumbria Catchment.
Farming is known to contribute a significant proportion of nutrient input from sources such as inorganic fertilisers, leached organic manures from stores and inappropriate application during cold winter months when uptake of nutrients is minimal.
However an increasing trend in the West Cumbrian Catchment is the encroachment of river banks by large numbers of stock, both cattle and sheep. Livestock defecating in the channel, cause faecal indicator organisms, from raw ruminant organic waste to be transported downstream to Seascale bathing waters, affecting the quality of the bathing waters. The West Cumbria Rivers Trust are working on a collaborative project with English Nature and their Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer to see if stock fencing along the course of these becks could reduce the impact of stock entering the water course and improve bathing water quality.
This Collaborative project aims to provide advice on avoiding diffuse water pollution from agriculture,fencing off the river corridor and providing an alternate source of drinking water and to facilitate a change in land management through catchment sensitive farming.
The Water Framework Directive demands a reduction in inorganic and organic nutrient input to the catchments as well many other parameters.
Invasive species encroachment is also a problem in the West Cumbrian catchment. This project will aim to investigate the extent in the Whitriggs and New Mill beck catchments.
Information of Seascale bathing quality is available Here.