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‘Get out of the sea’ tannoy warning issued at Barry Island beach

An announcement was made at a crowded Barry Island beach on Saturday afternoon, 18th May, advising people to leave the water due to concerns over “water quality”. Hundreds of families were enjoying the warm weather when the warning was issued.

The Gwyl Fach y Fro, an annual festival featuring music, street entertainment, craft stalls, and food and drink, was in full swing, drawing large crowds. The beach was busy with people enjoying performances by Vale school children and stars like Sage Todz.

Around 4pm, a tannoy announcement informed beachgoers that the water was unsafe for swimming, citing a ‘water quality’ alert. This followed a warning from the charity Surfers Against Sewage, which reported that 19 beach and seafront locations in Wales had been polluted by storm sewage or received a poor water classification.

The alert for Barry Island stated: “Pollution Alert: Storm sewage has been discharged from a sewer overflow in this location within the past 48 hours. The bay is a sandy 700m cove located west of Barry Docks and Jackson’s Bay. It faces south towards the Bristol Channel, backed by the dock area and the town of Barry. Seaside shops can be found in the immediate foreground, with limestone cliffs on either side and headlands called Friars Point to the west and Nell’s Point to the east.”

She said: “We were so shocked when we heard the announcement. We know that there can be issues with sewage on the beach but you do not expect it on a warm and sunny weekend. There was a lot of confusion and upset. We took the children home and scrubbed them because they had been fully immersed in the water. Even the smallest amount of raw sewage in the water is enough.”

Surfers Against Sewage, one of the UK’s leading marine conservation and campaigning charities, had published these alerts on its website, prompting the precautionary measure at Barry Island.