Record number of new wild swimming spots get the go ahead - The Worcester Observer

Record number of new wild swimming spots get the go ahead

Worcester Editorial 20th May, 2024   0

Dozens of new wild swimming spots across the country are being designated as bathing waters ahead of the summer and will immediately benefit from regular water quality monitoring.

Following a public consultation, 27 new bathing water sites will be designated ahead of the 2024 bathing water season, which runs between now and 30 September.

The new sites will take the total number of bathing waters to 451 across England – the highest number to date.

The new bathing waters – which include a dozen river sites – can be found right across the country.

Discover some of the best wild swim locations in the Midlands and Central England, whether a river swim or a lake by clicking here.

The Environment Agency regularly monitors water quality at designated bathing water sites and assesses whether action is needed to cut pollution levels – working with local communities, farmers, and water companies to improve water quality at these locations.




The government will also launch a consultation later this year on proposals to reform the Bathing Water Regulations for England. The proposed changes will drive work to improve bathing water quality, enhance monitoring and enable more flexibility around the dates of the bathing water monitoring season. For example, proposals will include increasing monitoring outside of the bathing water season and preventing automatic de-designation of existing bathing water sites.

Defra will also seek public and stakeholder views on extending the definition of ‘bathers’ to include a wider range of water users in addition to swimmers – such as rowers, kayakers and paddle boarders. More information on this consultation will be published in due course.


The next application round will commence in Spring 2025.

Water Minister Robbie Moore said:

THE VALUE OUR BATHING WATERS BRING TO LOCAL COMMUNITIES IS INCREDIBLY VALUABLE – PROVIDING SOCIAL, PHYSICAL AND POSITIVE HEALTH AND WELLBEING BENEFITS TO PEOPLE AROUND THE COUNTRY – AND I AM PLEASED TO HAVE APPROVED A FURTHER 27 NEW BATHING WATER SITES FOR THIS YEAR.

THESE POPULAR SWIMMING SPOTS WILL NOW UNDERGO REGULAR MONITORING TO ENSURE BATHERS HAVE UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ON THE QUALITY OF THE WATER AND ENABLE ACTION TO BE TAKEN IF MINIMUM STANDARDS AREN’T BEING MET.

I AM FULLY COMMITTED TO SEEING THE QUALITY OF OUR COASTAL WATERS, RIVERS AND LAKES RISE FURTHER FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND EVERYONE WHO USES THEM.

Environment Agency Chair Alan Lovell said:

THE IMPORTANCE OF ENGLAND’S BATHING WATERS FOR RESIDENTS AND VISITORS ALIKE CANNOT BE UNDERSTATED, WHICH IS WHY THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY PROVIDES RIGOROUS TESTING TO ENSURE THAT BATHERS CAN MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS BEFORE SWIMMING IN ONE OF OUR 451 SITES.

OVERALL BATHING WATER QUALITY HAS IMPROVED MASSIVELY OVER THE LAST DECADE DUE TO TARGETED AND ROBUST REGULATION FROM THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY, AND THE GOOD WORK CARRIED OUT BY PARTNERS AND LOCAL GROUPS. LAST YEAR, 96% OF SITES MET MINIMUM STANDARDS, UP FROM JUST 76% IN 2010 – AND DESPITE STRICTER STANDARDS BEING INTRODUCED IN 2015.

WE KNOW THAT IMPROVEMENTS CAN TAKE TIME AND INVESTMENT FROM THE WATER INDUSTRY, FARMERS AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES, BUT WHERE THE INVESTMENT IS MADE, STANDARDS CAN IMPROVE.

Last year, 96% of bathing waters in England met the minimum standards, with 90% classified as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, up from 76% in 2010, despite the classification standards becoming stricter in 2015. The government also updated its guidance last year to make the application process clearer and easier to follow.

To join the Wild Swimming – Midlands, Peak District and Central England group go to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/48533031594

Public Notices

View and download all of the public notices in the Worcester Observer.

Subscribe

Receive a weekly update to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter.

Buy Photos

Buy photos online from the Worcester Observer newspaper.

Advertising

Advertise with the Worcester Observer to reach your audience