The Environment Agency - England and Wales

All bathing waters pass the test in the South East


The Environment Agency has welcomed the news that all 96 beaches in the South East met minimum bathing water quality standards this year, but warned there is much more work to be done.

New figures that show which of England’s bathing waters have met strict quality standards have been published by Defra today. The figures show that 100 per cent of South East England’s bathing waters met the minimum European water quality standard, with 79 beaches (82%) meeting the tighter guideline standard compared to 64 beaches (67%) in 2012.

Bathing water quality has improved significantly over the past two decades but from 2015 the water quality at Britain’s beaches will be measured against stricter levels. The revised EU Bathing Water Directive sets much higher water quality standards which are approximately twice as stringent as the current standards. This is a huge challenge in which everyone from local government to industry and local communities has a part to play.

Environment Minister, Dan Rogerson said: “England’s bathing waters have seen record improvements, meeting the highest standard this year and we need to make sure they continue to remain of good quality.

“Having quality bathing water and beaches is not only good for the environment but also boosts tourism and the local economy. Meeting the tough new water quality targets will be a huge challenge. Everyone from local government to industry and local communities will have a part to play to ensure we continue to meet the new standards and have beaches that people can enjoy.”

Lord Chris Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency, said: “The improvement in the quality of UK bathing waters this year is really good news, but with much stricter standards coming into force in 2015, we cannot afford to be complacent. The Environment Agency is working hard with local authorities, businesses and water companies to ensure that bathing waters meet the new standards, and the seaside tourist economy in England continues to thrive.”

Defra and the Environment Agency are working with stakeholders to address the problems that can arise from heavy rainfall. The department is also discussing with water companies further investment for the 2015 to 2020 period to ensure that bathing water quality continues to improve.

The water quality results for bathing waters in England for 2013 can be found at:

There is also a bathing water App that gives up to date information on bathing water quality.

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