Quality tests by the Environment Agency at English bathing spots have shown that 97.9% of bathing water samples met standards with 65% attaining the maximum, excellent, rating. The results were virtually unchanged from the previous year.
The percentage meeting at least the minimum acceptable standard was down a shade from 2017's 98.3% which itself was also a negligible fall from the previous year's 98.5%. The figure for excellent waters was also a whisker down from 2017 when 65.6% of beaches attained the top score.
Of the 420 bathing spots tested between May and September this year, nine were given the lowest, “poor,” rating – up from seven last year. The Environment Agency applies four quality grades to bathing waters: Excellent, Good, Sufficient and Poor.