This summer people can take a dip at more bathing beaches than ever before along our coastline.
As the bathing water season begins this week, visitors to the seaside will have 422 bathing spots to choose from after nine new beach locations have been designated as official bathing waters along the south coast with eight of those being in Cornwall.
The Environment Agency tests water quality at every official bathing water to ensure it is maintained and improved. Last year, water quality remained high with 98.3% of bathing waters in England meeting the tough standards. 92% of these locations achieved the top rating of Excellent or Good.
Beach-goers can check out the water quality at their nearest bathing water spot by visiting the Environment Agency’s online map at the Bathing Water Data Explorer website.
The eight new locations in Cornwall are: South Fistral beach in Newquay, Booby’s Bay near Trevose Head, Mexico Towan, Upton Towan and Godrevy, all situated on a long stretch of dunes in St Ives Bay, Northcott Mouth beach to the north of Bude, Gwynver Beach which forms part Whitesand Bay and Tregonhawke in Whitesand Bay.
Helen Wakeham, Deputy Director of Water Quality at the Environment Agency, said:
It is wonderful news that more beaches have been given bathing status in time for the start of the 2018 season. Water quality has improved at English beaches giving locals and tourists a better experience as well as benefiting the environment.
Water quality tests are published online, me and my family will certainly be searching the online map before heading off to enjoy time at the beach this summer.
During the bathing water season environment officers will take up to 20 samples at each location, from now until the end of September. Samples will be tested in Environment Agency labs for cleanliness. This year, in addition to sampling water quality, Environment Agency teams will also carry out surveys of plastic pollution on beaches. This data will help target our work and support community action.
Dramatic improvements have already been made over the last two decades to prevent pollution ending up in the sea, but there is always more to do.
All members of the public can help keep water clean by taking all rubbish with them after visits to the beach, not leaving dog mess on the beach and at home never flushing wet wipes or pouring fats down drains.
Heavy rain is likely to reduce water quality in the short term, even at Excellent beaches. Information on the Bathing Water Data Explorer website may advise against swimming and there could be temporary signs at beaches.
All the new bathing waters will have signage to show they are official swimming spots and the Environment Agency will test water quality regularly.