Water standards rise at UK Beaches

Published on Tuesday, 08 November 2011 12:00
Posted by Scott Buckler

A huge majority of England’s bathing waters continue to meet rigorous quality standards, new figures from Defra reveal


Nearly 80 per cent of England’s bathing waters met the tightest guideline standard with close to 98 per cent meeting the European Commission’s minimum water quality threshold in 2011.

414 coastal and freshwater bathing water sites were monitored across England in 2011.Any bathing water site that falls below mandatory standards is investigated by the Environment Agency, who will take appropriate measures to address sources of pollution.  

Measures taken to reduce and mitigate pollution from agricultural sources include the Catchment Sensitive Farming project and the establishment of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, which cover approximately two-thirds of England. During the past two decades the water industry has invested £2 billion to improve bathing water quality and further spending of £220 million is planned between now and 2015.

During the 2011 bathing season there have been trials at 47 beaches in England into giving bathers information about discharges from Combined Sewer Overflows.  This has been voluntary action on the part of water companies, local authorities and Surfers Against Sewage. This initiative has the support of the Cleaner Seas Forum, a Ministerial led initiative bringing together industry and environmental groups to look at how bathers can be kept better informed about water quality.

Source: Defra

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