An update from the Environment Agency about swimming in our sea this year:
Start of 2024 bathing water season
The 15th May marks the official start of this year’s bathing water season. Between now and the end of September, millions of people across the country will head to bathing waters to relax, paddle and swim.
There are 451 designated bathing waters across England, and the Environment Agency plays a crucial role in monitoring and assessing the water quality at all these sites.
This year sees the addition of 27 newly designated bathing waters across England (announced this week) and new bathing water reforms by Defra which will be consulted on.
Defra is proposing a number of measures under the reforms:
remove automatic de-designation if a site is rated as ‘Poor’ for five years in a row.
take into consideration existing water quality before designation.
add future flexibility to the dates and length of the monitored bathing season.
They will also look to pause the next round of bathing water applications until spring 2025 and until the new regulations and associated guidelines come into place and allow time for public consultation on the reforms.
As you may be aware, the Environment Agency’s website– Swimfo – provides useful, up-to-date information on the water quality of bathing waters. It allows people to find out more about the designated bathing waters in their area, and further afield, and understand the sources of pollution that can affect them. Swimfo also includes the Pollution Risk Forecasting (PRF) service, which is updated daily, providing information on where a temporary reduction in water might be in place due to factors such as the weather or tidal conditions. This service is available at more than 170 bathing waters in England.
We take up to 20 samples at each bathing water throughout the bathing season which runs from mid-May until the end of September – over 7,000 samples across England. Last year’s annual results showed that 96% of bathing sites in England met at least the minimum standard of water quality, and that 90% were classified as ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’. Our ongoing monitoring work will help us to determine where action is needed to address pollution, and we will work with local communities, the water industry and other key stakeholders where minimum standards are not being met.
We know many people also enjoy spending time at locations that are not designated bathing waters and are managed for the purpose of protecting fish and wildlife, not people, so health risks from these locations may be higher. The UK Health Security Agency and the Environment Agency offer advice in their ‘swim healthy’ guidance…/swim-healthy-leaflet/swim-healthy which is available to read before making any decision on swimming.
Link to Instagram Link to Twitter Link to YouTube Link to Facebook Link to LinkedIn Link to Snapchat Close Fax Website Location Phone Email Calendar Building Search