The bathing water season starts for 2022

The bathing water season started today (15 May) with the Environment Agency carrying out regular water quality tests at designated bathing sites until the end of September.

High standards of water quality in bathing places are important for people to enjoy the beaches and other beautiful sights in England.

Throughout the bathing season, the Environment Agency will post warnings of any predicted pollution risks on its Swimfo Find a Bathing Water website. Signs are also posted at these bathing spots to inform bathers of any possible decline in quality due to factors such as rainfall, wind and high tides.

In the fall, Defra will publish its ratings – Adequate, Good, Excellent or Poor – for each designated bathing site.

Since the 1990s, the Environment Agency has generated £2.5bn of investment and facilitated partnerships to bring about the changes needed to make our bathing waters a success. The long-term trend in bathing water quality in England remains upwards and the overall quality is high. In 2021, 99% of bathing waters have reached the Sufficient minimum standard. Of these, nearly 95% have achieved the highest standards of Excellent or Good – the highest since new standards were introduced in 2015. But while progress has been made, there is still much to be done. to ensure cleaner and healthier waters for people to enjoy. .

Environment Agency President Emma Howard Boyd said:

Before the pandemic, coastal tourism in England generated £13.7 billion, supported 10,000 tourism-related jobs, with 15-20% of jobs in coastal areas related to tourism – in some places more than 50%. Public confidence in the quality of bathing waters is essential for the tourism industry and for the health and well-being of people. We monitor sites and provide pollution risk forecasts at over 170 sites throughout the bathing water season so people understand the local situation.

Decades of targeted regulation and investment on the coast have dramatically improved bathing waters, but more work needs to be done inland. Water companies, industry and farmers must comply with regulatory requirements or face legal action, and we can all take small steps to help. For example, never throwing away wet wipes or plastic products like diapers so they don’t end up in water.

The designation does not guarantee clean water for swimming. Bringing river bathing waters up to standard will be a challenge and will place greater responsibility on farmers, water companies and communities to eliminate pollution that harms bathers. EA calls on them to play their part and work hard with anyone who wants to be part of the solution.

And individual actions matter: small steps like not pouring fats and oils down the sink or flushing wet wipes and other plastic products down the toilet can help protect water quality.

Knowing more about bathing water quality and the range and location of designated sites can help people get the most out of their visit. EA’s Swimfo: Find a Bathing Water website provides immediate access to information on more than 400 designated bathing waters and notifies bathers when pollution risk warnings have been issued. including coastal locations, inland lakes and the newly designated Wolvercote Mill Stream section at Port Meadow in Oxford.

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