The latest annual bathing water quality results published by the Office of National Statistics show that standards have remained high following last year’s record results which showed bathing waters were the cleanest since records began.
98.3 per cent of bathing waters tested at over 400 beaches and lakes up and down the country passed tough standards this year, following 98.5 per cent last year.
There have been huge strides made since the early 1990s, when just 28 per cent of bathing waters met the top water quality standards that were in force then; now 92 per cent are rated excellent or good.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:
“We want all bathing waters to enjoy the high quality which the 146 million visitors to Britain’s beaches every year expect and we will keep working with partners to drive up standards.
Not only does our iconic coastline generate over £3.6 billion for the economy, it is a valuable part of our natural environment and we will uphold these bathing water standards as part of our plans to deliver a Green Brexit.”
Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency added:
“Maintaining such high water quality standards at English beaches is a huge success and a credit to all those individuals and organisations working hard to keep our bathing waters clean. Water quality has improved significantly over the last two decades – but to protect and enhance water quality even further we will need everyone to take the small actions that will help.
“The Environment Agency continues to lead efforts to ensure bathing waters are maintained and improved further, working with partners and the public to reduce pollution.”
The results follow a summer of significant rainfall, which can cause high levels of agricultural run-off to pollute bathing waters.
Commenting on the results, Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of Water UK, said:
“These are great results under difficult circumstances. It shows the benefit of all the hard work and investment water companies put into improving our rivers and beaches, and is in very stark contrast to the situation 30 years ago when beaches were often riddled with sewage.”