Beach boost for Looe and Seaton

Cornwall Wildlife Trust will continue working through 2018 on behalf of the Looe Bathing Water Quality Partnership, keeping bathing waters healthy in Looe and Seaton. Impressive community efforts in recent years have reduced pollution getting into rivers, which has led to measurable improvements in bathing water quality.

Clean bathing waters at the beaches in Looe and Seaton are vital for locals, visitors and the tourist economy. Clean rivers and riverbanks also provide safe corridors across the landscape for wildlife like brown trout and otters.

Thanks to main sponsors Environment Agency and South West Water, with continued support from local councils, the Trust plans to tackle all sources of organic pollution throughout the river catchments. The work will raise awareness and provide opportunities for communities and businesses to get involved, so everyone can play their part in keeping the rivers healthy.

Young people are leading by example by helping to stencil yellow fish next to surface water drains. These are a bright reminder that it’s ‘Only Rain Down The Drain’ – anything else will pollute the rivers and make its way to the beach. The Trust will continue to work with schools and youth groups to bring Yellow Fish to more areas.

Spraying Yellow Fish

Wet wipes, nappies and other items flushed down the toilet get stuck in the sewers. Fat, oil and grease poured down sinks and drains stick to these obstacles and eventually pipes get completely blocked. When it rains the blocked sewers can’t cope, so they back up and spill sewage into the river.

3Ps stickers and cards will continue to go up in food outlets and accommodation providers as a reminder that only pee, poo and paper should be flushed down the loo. 

Cornwall Wildlife Trust is out visiting cafes, pubs and accommodation providers and asking for a pledge to only flush the 3Ps and properly dispose of fat, oil, and grease. Lindsey and Grace Ellis installed a grease trap at The Beach Café in Looe, which means any fat, oil or grease going down their sink will be trapped before it causes any problems. Lindsey understands that “clean bathing water is important to all the businesses in Looe as well as local people and visitors who use our lovely beach. The beach and harbour are the focal points of the town and we are happy to play our part in keeping the bathing waters clean”.

Away from the towns, farmers are being supported to keep manure and dirty water out of the streams. The Trust’s farm advisers can provide small grants to upgrade roofing and drainage, which stops dirty water stores from filling up too quickly and spilling out into the river. One farmer near Liskeard is keeping cows out of the river by putting up 750m of fencing. In addition, he is constructing a pond to intercept dirty water and settle out solid waste before it gets to the river.

There are plenty of ways that everyone can get involved:

Love your loo: Whether you’re at home or out and about, remember to only flush the 3Ps, even if wet wipes claim to be flushable.

Check at home for misconnected plumbing: all too often waste pipes are wrongly connected to surface water drains and a straightforward fix could keep your wastewater out of the river.

Become a Riverfly volunteer: Keep an eye on the events page ( for opportunities to get trained up to identify river insects. The data that Riverfly volunteers collect shows where rivers are most polluted, helping to target future work and showing whether things are getting better.

For more information about Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s work around Looe and Seaton please visit the website ( or get in touch with Pete Warman on 01872 302277.