Bathing waters meet standards
The Environment Agency has revealed today (Thursday, 09 November 2006) that all bathing waters in Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight meet European cleanliness standards. .
The Environment Agency tests all bathing waters in England and Wales once a week during the bathing water season, which runs from May to September. During the 2006 season, 65 of the 78 bathing waters passed the stringent EC "guideline" standards and the remaining 13 passed the mandatory standards.
The good news continues for the rest of England, with a record 99.5% of bathing waters meeting minimum European standards, up from 98.8% in 2005.
This year's figures also show an increase in the number of English bathing waters meeting tighter "guideline" water quality standards, 75.1% reached the standards compared to 74.8% in 2005.
Environment Minister Ian Pearson said:
"This year's results represent the highest compliance with European bathing water standards since monitoring began. We should be very proud of the consistently high standard of water quality being achieved each year at our bathing waters. The money that has been invested by water companies and others since the 1990s to improve water quality is now showing real results, bringing benefits to the environment, public health and tourism."
Mr Pearson continued:
"Work is continuing to improve water quality still further, by upgrading sewerage infrastructure and tackling diffuse water pollution from farming and urban sources. This still affects the quality of bathing water at some of our beaches, and we will be working closely with farmers and others to reduce this type of pollution."
In April this year, the two-year England Catchment Sensitive Farming Delivery Initiative was launched, which aims to work with farmers to improve farming practices and reduce pollution from agriculture in 40 priority catchments.
Higher standards will apply from 2015 and more information about bathing waters will be provided to the public at beaches and online.
A list of the regional beaches tested and the grades they received is available on request.