England’s bathing water standards remain high in 2017

England’s bathing water stay clean in 2017
Beach at Durdle Door in Dorset on a summer's day

New bathing water quality statistics show England’s favourite swimming spots have maintained high standards.

According to statistics published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) this week (14 November 2017), standards of cleanliness is ‘good’ or of ‘sufficient’ standard in more swimming spots than 2016, despite a very small drop in those achieving levels of cleanliness graded as ‘excellent’.

Over 98 per cent of bathing waters tested at over 400 beaches and lakes up and down the country passed tough standards this year, following a record 98.5 per cent last year.

There have been huge strides made since the early 1990s, when just 28 per cent of bathing waters met the top water quality standards that were in force then; now 92 per cent are rated excellent or good. The number of poor bathing waters has remained below two per cent for the second year in a row.

On releasing the 2017 statistics, Defra Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “We want all bathing waters to enjoy the high quality which the 146 million visitors to Britain’s beaches every year expect and we will keep working with partners to drive up standards.

Not only does our iconic coastline generate over £3.6 billion for the economy, it is a valuable part of our natural environment and we will uphold these bathing water standards as part of our plans to deliver a Green Brexit.”

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency said: “Maintaining such high water quality standards at English beaches is a huge success and a credit to all those individuals and organisations working hard to keep our bathing waters clean. Water quality has improved significantly over the last two decades – but to protect and enhance water quality even further we will need everyone to take the small actions that will help.

The Environment Agency continues to lead efforts to ensure bathing waters are maintained and improved further, working with partners and the public to reduce pollution.

Local action plans are in place for the waters that need improvement, involving a range of partner organisations. In 2017 the public were also able to see more advice on signs at beaches and get better information online about water quality at any bathing beach.