Do you surf, windsurf, kitesurf, dive, kayak, sail or swim in the sea off any of the North East’s beaches between Saltburn and Hartley Reef? And do you use the water from the beginning of October to the end of April? If the answer to BOTH of these questions is YES - then Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) need your help!

Northumbrian Water has applied to the Environment Agency to turn-off the UV disinfection sewage treatment process outside the ‘bathing season’ at 6 sewage treatment works in the north east (Howdon, Hendon, Seaton Carew, Billingham, Bran Sands and Marske). SAS are objecting on the grounds that water quality will be reduced, therefore increasing the risk of contracting a sewage related illness in a region highly popular with recreational water users.

In order for them to challenge Northumbrian Water’s assumption that ‘on average no more than 10 surfers per week use the sea for recreation in this region from the beginning of October to the end of April’, SAS want water users to send their pictures of people using the water for recreation during this time. Ideally it needs to document line-ups as opposed to individuals surfing as they want to show how well used these beaches can be on their day.

However, please do send any individual shots as this can still help SAS show people are using the water throughout the winter and beyond! The quality doesn’t have to be great (mobile phone shots could be OK) but we do need them emailed. Please also mention where it is and when it was taken. Try and keep the pictures smallish in size (around the 1MB size).

The beaches they are particularly interested in are Hartley Reef (near Tynemouth) , Whitley Bay, Tynemouth area, South Shields, Whitburn, Sunderland area, Hartlepool area, Coatham, Redcar and Saltburn. If you use other beaches that are in this area still please send them, but again mention where they are.

The more pics SAS get the more success we’ll have in challenging Northumbrian Water’s proposal to turn off the UV disinfection process at local sewage treatment works. If Northumbrian Water are successful then water quality will become poorer right across the region and increase the chances of us becoming sick more often.

Send your pics to: {encode="" title=""} by 28th February 2007.

In other news, SAS have announced their new sponsors for 2007:

Extreme Board Shots: specialise in photographs of North Devon's premier surf locations, kitesurfing and mountainboarding activities and are also a new one star sponsor of SAS. Extreme Board Shots also work on a range of commercial product photography and corporate art; and their impressive client list includes The Times, Wavelength Magazine and Nineplus. To have a check out Extreme Board Shots online gallery and full list of services visit

Argantel: Situated in the historic village of St Agnes, Cornwall Chy Treza, Chy Kenza and Chy Nessa at Argantel offer superb year-round self-catering holiday cottage accommodation in a peaceful wooded valley winding gently down to the beautiful bathing beach of Trevaunance Cove. Argantel is a new one star sponsor of SAS for 2007. Please visit for more information and to check tariffs and availability.