Skip to main content

Coverage of the 27 new bathing water designations across England

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Environment Agency, water

There has been coverage, including in BBC, ITV, The Guardian, The Telegraph, iNews, The Times and Daily Mail, of the government’s announcement that 27 new bathing water sites will be designated across England. The decision follows a public consultation last year.

The Environment Agency will now conduct weekly testing at all 451 bathing water sites for the duration of the 2024 bathing water season, which runs between 15 May and 30 September.

The Environment Agency regularly monitors water quality at designated bathing water sites and assesses whether action is needed to cut pollution levels – working with local communities, farmers, and water companies to improve water quality at these locations.

Last year, 96% of bathing waters in England met the minimum standards, with 90% classified as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, up from 76% in 2010, despite the classification standards becoming stricter in 2015.

Water Minister Robbie Moore said:

The value our bathing waters bring to local communities is incredibly valuable – providing social, physical and positive health and wellbeing benefits to people around the country – and I am pleased to have approved a further 27 new bathing water sites for this year.

These popular swimming spots will now undergo regular monitoring to ensure bathers have up-to-date information on the quality of the water and enable action to be taken if minimum standards aren’t being met.

I am fully committed to seeing the quality of our coastal waters, rivers and lakes rise further for the benefit of the environment and everyone who uses them.

Environment Agency Chair Alan Lovell said: 

The importance of England’s bathing waters for residents and visitors alike cannot be understated, which is why the Environment Agency provides rigorous testing to ensure that bathers can make informed decisions before swimming in one of our 451 sites.

Overall bathing water quality has improved massively over the last decade due to targeted and robust regulation from the Environment Agency, and the good work carried out by partners and local groups. Last year, 96% of sites met minimum standards, up from just 76% in 2010 – and despite stricter standards being introduced in 2015.

We know that improvements can take time and investment from the water industry, farmers and local communities, but where the investment is made, standards can improve.

Sharing and comments

Share this page

Leave a comment

We only ask for your email address so we know you're a real person

By submitting a comment you understand it may be published on this public website. Please read our privacy notice to see how the GOV.UK blogging platform handles your information.