The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), in its 2019 bathing water quality report, has, for the first time, designated more than 70% of England’s bathing waters 2019 as excellent – the highest of the four quality categories used by Defra.
The increase of 18 more excellent bathing waters was part of the record of 93.3% classified as excellent of good (see table). Seven waters were rated as poor.
420 bathing inland and coastal bating waters were tested with readings taken over the last four bathing seasons to determine the annual classification for that water. The 2019 results cover the period from 2016 to 2019. One bathing water was unassessed because there were no measurements at that water for 2019.
Water UK said: “These figures are in stark contrast to the early 1990s, when less than a third of bathing waters would have met today’s standards following years of underinvestment when the water sector was owned and run by the government.”