Bathing water quality in the North East has improved dramatically since last year, according to the latest test results released by the Environment Agency.
Beaches continue to follow a trend of general improvement, with all 34 of the North East’s bathing waters meeting the mandatory water quality standard. In addition, 30 of these met the higher ‘guideline’ standard for water quality as set by the European Bathing Water Directive.
The results were announced last week following weekly tests carried out throughout the 2013 bathing water season.
Last year, two beaches in the North East failed to meet the mandatory water quality level, and only 11 met the higher guideline standard. This dip in quality was attributed to repeated heavy rainfall.
Trevor Hardy, Regional Environmental Planning Manager at the Environment Agency, said: “This year’s results are great news for the north east. We have some fabulous beaches here and these results will give residents and visitors real confidence that water quality is good and getting better.
“The Environment Agency has been working with water companies, councils and farmers to reduce discharges, agricultural run-off and cross connections that can have a detrimental effect on water quality, and combined with the fact that this year has been much drier than 2012, we have seen one of the best set of results in twenty years.
“The positive results reflect a trend of improvement over the past two decades. However, meeting tough new water quality targets is a huge challenge in which everyone – from local government to industry and local communities – has a part to play.”
Nationally, 99% of beaches met the mandatory standards (410 beaches out of 415 tested), and 82% achieved the higher ‘guideline’ standard.
This national mandatory pass rate is an improvement on 2012, when 93% of the nation’s beaches passed the mandatory level.
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.”
Full results of bathing water testing can be found at http://environment.data.gov.uk/bwq/explorer/index.html.