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The plan for dozens of new bathing water areas is revealed

The plan for dozens of new bathing water areas is revealed


  • Government to consult on largest ever opening of new bathing water sites
  • Members of the public are invited to have their say before the consultation closes on March 10

Plans to establish the largest ever number of new washing water sites have been outlined by the Water Minister today (February 26), as part of the governments plan to improve water quality across the country.

Subject to a fortnight consultation, the Environment Agency will create 27 new designated swimming spots across England. If designated, the sites will receive regular water monitoring by the Environment Agency, which will investigate sources of pollution and identify steps to be taken in response, which may include action by water companies, farmers and others.

Last year, 96% of bathing waters in England met the minimum standards and 90% of bathing waters in England were rated as good or excellent, up from 76% in 2010, despite classification standards becoming stricter in 2015. The government also updated its guidelines last year to make the application process clearer and easier to follow.

All residents, baths, businesses and organizations are invited to have their say before the consultation closes on March 10.

Water Minister Robbie Moore said:

Many people enjoy spending time on our rivers, lakes and coastal beaches, and I am well aware of the value they bring in terms of social, health and wellbeing benefits.

I want to continue to improve the quality of our washing waters, which is why we are taking action across the board to raise standards and hold water companies to account.

I encourage all interested communities and local organizations to participate in this consultation and have their say.

Currently, when selecting new sites, Defra takes into account how many people bathe there and whether the area has suitable infrastructure and facilities, such as toilets. All applications are assessed against these factors and only those that meet these factors are taken to public consultation.

The countries considered for determination are:

  • Church Cliff Beach, Lyme Regis, Dorset
  • Coastguard Beach, River Erme, Devon
  • Coniston Boating Centre, Coniston Water, Cumbria
  • Coniston Brown Howe, Coniston Water, Cumbria
  • Littlehaven Beach, Tyne and Wear
  • Manningtree Beach, Essex
  • Coniston Monk, Coniston Water, Cumbria
  • The River Avon at Fordingbridge, Hampshire
  • River Cam at Sheeps Green, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
  • Estuary of the River Dart at Dittisham, Devon
  • Estuary of the River Dart at Steamer Quay, Totnes, Devon
  • Estuary of the River Dart at Stoke Gabriel, Devon
  • Estuary of the River Dart at Warfleet, Dartmouth, Devon
  • River Frome at Farleigh Hungerford, Somerset
  • The River Nidd at Lido Leisure Park in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire
  • River Ribble at Edisford Bridge, Lancashire
  • River Severn at Ironbridge, Shropshire
  • River Severn in Shrewsbury, Shropshire
  • River Stour in Sudbury, Suffolk
  • River Teme in Ludlow, Shropshire
  • River Tone at French Weir Park, Taunton, Somerset
  • Wallingford Beach, River Thames, Berkshire
  • Derwent Water, Crow Park, Keswick, Cumbria
  • River Wharfe at Wetherby Riverside, West Yorkshire
  • Goring Beach, Worthing, West Sussex
  • Worthing Beach House, Worthing, West Sussex
  • Rottingdean Beach, Rottingdean, East Sussex

This consultation will build on recent improvements the government has delivered to the water environment, including:

  • Notice of ban on bonuses for water company executives whose firms have committed serious criminal offences, subject to Ofwat consultation.
  • Quadrupling the regulatory capacity of Environment Agencies allowing them to carry out 4,000 inspections of water companies by the end of the next financial year.
  • Companies are required to monitor 100% of storm surges in England – providing a full picture of when and where sewage spills occur.
  • Lifting the cap on civil penalties for water companies and expanding their scope so that faster action can be taken against those who pollute our waterways.
  • The largest infrastructure program in the water company's history is required – 60 billion over 25 years to renew aging assets and reduce the number of sewage spills by hundreds of thousands each year.
  • Increase protections for coastal and estuarine waters by expanding the Storm Flood Reduction Plan, prioritizing bathing waters, sites of special scientific interest and shellfish waters.
  • Providing $10 million in support for farmers to conserve more water on their land through Water Management Grants to support food production and improve water security.
  • Accelerating the process of building key water supply infrastructure, including more reservoirs and water transfer schemes.




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