BEACHGOERS are again being warned not to bathe at a popular tourist beach in Clacton after water quality was again branded as “poor”.

The Environment Agency yesterday published the results of water quality tests at bathing beaches around the coast.

Clacton’s Groyne 41 beach has failed to make the grade for the past four years.

Last year officials were left baffled as to why the beach is failing to meet minimum standards.

The pollution had previously been blamed on pigeon mess, but it is now thought that was only a minor source of the contamination.

Tendring Council spokesman Will Lodge said investigation work was ongoing to establish the cause, and a solution, to poor water quality around Groyne 41.

He said: “The council is working very closely with the Environment Agency and Anglian Water, and Clacton Pier, to tackle this with a multi-agency response.

“Specialists, including microbiologists, have been brought in to continue with work on this complex issue, and a meeting held just last week a fresh approach was agreed.

“Clacton has a number of fantastic beaches and bathing spots, some with Blue Flag accreditation, and continues to be a popular destination for residents and visitors alike.

“But the council is not resting on its laurels and will carry on working to bring all of our beaches up to a high standard.”

The Environment Agency has rated water quality at Dovercourt, Holland, east Clacton and Brightlingsea as ‘excellent’.

Beaches in Walton, Frinton, Jaywick and Clacton’s Martello Bay were graded as ‘good’ and West Mersea beach was rated as ‘sufficient’.

The agency tests water quality at every official bathing water to ensure it is maintained and improved.

Helen Wakeham, deputy director of water quality, said: “Water quality has improved at English beaches giving locals and tourists a better experience as well as benefitting the environment.

“We will continue to work with water companies, councils and local communities to keep our beaches clean, reduce pollution and protect our environment.

The agency said sewage and agriculture are the most significant sources of pollution.