Bathing water at beaches across the South East have achieved their highest ever ratings in Defra’s Bathing Water summer sampling regime.
Fifty eight out of the region’s 83 bathing waters have now achieved Excellent compared with 55 last year. Some 21 are rated ‘Good’, four ‘Sufficient’ and - for the third year running - none are ‘Poor.’
The breakdown is as follows:
- Kent – 18 'Excellent' bathing waters and 10 'Good' and one 'Sufficient’, mirroring last year.
- Sussex – 16 'Excellent' bathing waters, eight 'Good' and three 'Sufficient' compared with 14 ‘Excellent‘ in 2018, nine ‘Good’ and four ‘Sufficient’.
- Hampshire – 12 'Excellent' bathing waters and one 'Good'
- Isle of Wight – 12 'Excellent' bathing waters (up from nine in 2017) and two 'Good’ compared with 11 ‘Excellent’ in 2018 and three ‘Good.
Dr Alison Hoyle, Southern Water’s director of risk and compliance said: “Water at the beaches around our coast has never been cleaner. The trend of improvement has continued again in 2019 thanks to the collaborative approach taken between councils, regulators, charities and Southern Water. It is hard to believe that 30 years ago only 41 per cent of beaches in the region met the ‘Sufficient’ standard.”
Southern Water has invested more than £32 million on improving bathing waters in the past five years including major programmes in Worthing, Sussex and Shanklin, Isle of Wight.
Dr Hoyle underlined that bathing water is affected by many factors. “We have an important role to play but there are a diverse range of pollutions which can impact water quality – contaminated rainwater running off roads and agricultural land, wastewater from privately owned treatment works, boats and animals on the beach such as dogs and seabirds all play a part. That’s why it is so important for all parties to work together- these result show the power of cooperation,” she said.
Facts and stats:
- Our region boasts 700 miles of coastline and 83 designated bathing waters
- These beaches are one of the South East’s greatest assets and are vital to the local economy
- Bathing waters along our region’s coast have never been cleaner in recent times
- The way bathing water quality is measured is now twice as stringent as before, following the implementation of the revised European Bathing Water Directive in 2015.
- The official release from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs can found here.
What affects bathing water?
Bathing water can be affected by a range of factors outside of our control, including rainwater running off roads and agricultural land into watercourses and the sea, wastewater from privately-owned treatment works, boats and animals on the beach such as dogs and seabirds.
That's why we joined forces with the Environment Agency on our Beauty of the Beach campaign to celebrate the coastline and encourage people to play their part in keeping beaches beautiful.