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Swim England welcomes creation of 27 new designated bathing water sites

Swim England has welcomed the creation of 27 new designated bathing water locations – and a government pledge to consult on proposed regulation changes which could lead to increased monitoring and more people having their say on these ‘valuable’ sites.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), has announced the locations of the additional bathing waters across the country – taking the total to 451, the highest number to date.

All 27 of the new sites were selected following a two-week consultation earlier this year – which Swim England lobbied in support of – and include more than a dozen river sites.

The announcement was made ahead of the start of the England bathing water season, which runs from Wednesday 15 May to Monday 30 September.

Becoming a designated bathing water site means the Environment Agency regularly monitors water quality 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 27 new designated bathing water locations

  • Church Cliff Beach, Dorset
  • Coastguards Beach, River Erme, Devon
  • Coniston Boating Centre, Coniston Water, Cumbria
  • Coniston Brown Howe, Coniston Water, Cumbria
  • Derwent Water at Crow Park, Cumbria
  • Goring Beach, West Sussex
  • Littlehaven Beach, Tyne and Wear
  • Manningtree Beach, Essex
  • Monk Coniston, Coniston Water, Cumbria
  • River Avon at Fordingbridge, Hampshire
  • River Cam at Sheep’s Green, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
  • River Dart Estuary at Dittisham, Devon
  • River Dart Estuary at Steamer Quay, Totnes, Devon
  • River Dart Estuary at Stoke Gabriel, Devon
  • River Dart Estuary at Warfleet, Devon
  • River Frome at Farleigh Hungerford, Somerset
  • River Nidd at Knaresborough, North Yorkshire
  • River Ribble at Edisford Bridge, Lancashire
  • River Severn at Ironbridge, Shropshire
  • River Severn at Shrewsbury, Shropshire
  • River Stour at Friars Meadow, Sudbury, Suffolk
  • River Teme at Ludlow, Shropshire
  • River Tone at French Weir Park, Somerset
  • River Wharfe at Wetherby, West Yorkshire
  • Rottingdean Beach, East Sussex
  • Wallingford Beach, River Thames, Oxfordshire
  • Worthing Beach House, West Sussex

The Government also said it intends to launch a further consultation later this year on plans to reform the Bathing Water Regulations for England.

This will drive work to improve bathing water quality, enhance monitoring and enable more flexibility around the dates of the bathing water monitoring season.

DEFRA also intends to seek views on extending the definition of bathers to include a wider range of water users in addition to swimmers, including rowers, kayakers and paddle boarders.

Philip Brownlie, Swim England head of public affairs, said: “We’re pleased to see the creation of 27 new designated bathing water sites.

“However, while this is the highest number to date, we want to see even more sites designated in future to send a clear message that our blue spaces are there to be enjoyed and to drive up water quality standards.

“Swimming in open water has so many mental and physical health benefits but it’s vitally important that people have the opportunity to do so in clean water.

Regular monitoring

“As a member of the Clean Water Alliance, Swim England is pleased that all recreational users of open water will be considered when designating bathing waters and not just swimmers.

“The more people who are able to shout up about the importance of clean open water will certainly help in the fight for more designated bathing water locations and water quality improvements at both designated and non-designated sites.”

Water minister, Robbie Moore MP, 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.”

To see a full list of the 451 designated bathing water sites in England, please click here.