CAMPAIGNERS are demanding regular testing on Southend beaches amid fears over "dangerous" bacteria levels in the water.

Southend Against Sewage says tests carried out by some members suggest there are harmful levels of E-Coli at some of the city's Blue Flag beaches.

Campaigner Shah Haider, 48, even claims tests done in the waters at the beaches are showing "extreme danger".

Mr Haider said: “We are doing regular tests on the water. 

READ MORE >> Archie's parents wait for court ruling after new disagreement over brain test

“It shows there is E-coli, which is a nasty bug, and something we don’t want.

“We have been doing it for the last year and a half and the last set of results included City Beach on Southend seafront and Thorpe Bay too.

“It measures it by up to one out of a 1,000 millilitres.

"Thorpe Bay was at one and City beach was 0.75, and this shows the levels are between the level of needing caution and extreme danger."

He added: “Lots of people visit and use the sea to swim in; we need to be safe, and we need to see very regular testing all year round.

“It is a shame we have to be fearful of using our beautiful environment.”

Seawater in Southend is only tested at peak times in the year between May 1 and September 30.

Southend Council's environment boss, Carole Mulroney, played down concerns over the bacteria and insists testing is undertaken outside peak seasons if concerns are raised by "third-parties". 

She added: “The most recent tests carried out by the Environment Agency show that five of our eight beaches’ bathing waters are rated as ‘excellent’, with the other three rated as ‘good’.”

The Environment Agency said it accepted progress was still needed to ensure natural waters are as clean as possible. 

A spokesman said: "While progress has been made, there is still much more to be done to ensure cleaner and healthier waters for people to enjoy.

“This requires a combined effort from water companies, farmers, regulators, councils, local businesses, and the general public.

“We know that improvements can take time, but where the investment is made, standards can improve.”

Last year, protests were staged in Southend after parts of Jubilee, Three Shells and Thorpe Bay beaches were shut for two weeks due to a sewage leak.

It was caused by a ‘significant blockage’ in a pipe that feeds Anglian Water’s Southend Water Recycling Centre.

The water company said it was investing more than £200million in the East of England in the next five years to improve its systems and prevent similar incidents from occuring.