98% of swimming spots meet water quality standards

98.3 per cent of England’s bathing waters met the EC’s minimum water quality standards in 2009, up from 96% in 2008, tests carried out by the Environment Agency show. 414 coastal and freshwater bathing water sites were monitored in England in 2008 and 2009, with the below results.

In 2007 and 2008, exceptionally wet weather contributed to lower standards of bathing water.  Heavy rainfall caused pollution from agriculture and from urban areas to run off and lead to more frequent operation of Combined Sewer Overflows.

The Environment Agency investigates the causes of failure at each bathing water site that falls below mandatory standards and takes appropriate measures to address sources of pollution. 

Measures taken to reduce and mitigate pollution from agriculture include the Catchment Sensitive Farming Delivery Initiative and the establishment of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, which now cover approximately 70per cent of England.

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