ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners took to Boscombe beach at the weekend to claim leaving the EU would put the country’s shorelines at greater risk from pollution.

The Environmentalists for Europe group has been touring seaside resorts holding a series of “beach parties” to highlight what they say is the positive contribution Brussels legislation has on water and air quality.

Labour MEP for the south west, Clare Moody, told the Daily Echo she fears exiting the EU would result in a “bonfire of regulations”.

“When it comes to the environment we simply cannot afford to let that happen,” she said.

“We have got water quality legislation that protects our rivers and our seas, and we see now we have got blue flags all round our coastline.

“And for the south west, clearly with its tourist industry, it is massively important that we have clean water and clean beaches.”

Green Party MEP for the south west, Molly Scott Cato, said: “As a child I can remember the very poor quality of our beaches before we joined the EU.

“The struggle to bring British beaches up to the high standard they reach today took several decades and this progress would be put at risk if we were to leave.

“For a place like Bournemouth this is a threat to the tourism industry as well as to public health.”

However Brexit campaigner and Bournemouth West’s Conservative MP Conor Burns said although EU legislation has had a positive influence on beach cleanliness, “that advance is also in part due to shifting social attitudes”.

“The idea that if we were to leave the European Union that the British people wouldn’t be capable of electing a government that was capable of cleaning up our beaches and making them safe places for people to swim is farcical,” he said.

“Try getting elected as an MP in Bournemouth West, Bournemouth East, Christchurch or Weymouth if you are supporting a party that is standing on a platform to make beaches dirty, and see how you get on.”