New statistics show the number of designated bathing waters meeting strict quality standards is the highest since 2015. 99% of bathing waters in England have passed water quality standards following testing at over 400 designated sites carried out by the Environment Agency (EA).
Bathing waters are monitored for sources of pollution known to be a risk to bathers’ health, with up to 20 samples taken from each site during the bathing season. Each sample is tested for bacteria, specifically E coli and intestinal enterococci.
The EA has been monitoring bathing water sites since the 1990s, and in this time there have been significant improvements. In the early 1990s, for example, just 28% of bathing waters met the highest standards in force at that time. Based on new data, 99% of bathing waters meet the minimum standard, with 70.7% reaching the highest standards.
MP for North East Bedfordshire, Richard Fuller, said:
While progress has been made, there is still much more to be done to ensure cleaner and healthier waters for people to enjoy. The government is clear that more needs to be done on the part of water companies, and are taking robust action to support regulators, businesses, farmers and councils to help clean up our waters.