England's bathing water maintain record quality highs with two-thirds top-rated

England’s bathing water standards have remained virtually unchanged from last year’s record high.

The Environment Agency has announced today that 98.3 per cent of more than 400 bathing waters tested at English beaches and lakes were excellent, good or sufficient following 2016” 98.5% result. Two thirds this year were deemed excellent.

Fewer than 2% were designated poor (seven waters) with five of those on the north Devon/ Somerset coast. Just over 6% were sufficient with 27%. Water UK said the the tally of excellent beaches compared to “less than a third twenty years ago” was down to “high levels of investment.”

Chief Executive of Water UK, Michael Roberts, said: “These are great results under difficult circumstances. It shows the benefit of all the hard work and investment water companies put into improving our rivers and beaches, and is in stark contrast to the situation 30 years ago when beaches were often riddled with sewage.”

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Not only does our iconic coastline generate over £3.6 billion for the economy, it is a valuable part of our natural environment and we will uphold these bathing water standards as part of our plans to deliver a Green Brexit.

Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, Sir James Bevan, said: “Water quality has improved significantly over the last two decades – but to protect and enhance water quality even further we will need everyone to take the small actions that will help.

The Environment Agency said local action plans are in place for the waters that need improvement, involving a range of partner organisations. In 2017 the public were also able to see more advice on signs at beaches and get better information online about water quality at any bathing beach.