Waves at Teignmouth
© Natasha Ewins / MCS

Bathing water results for England announced

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 14 November 2017

Almost two-thirds of England’s bathing beaches have achieved “excellent” standards for their water quality this year, Defra announced today. 270 beaches (65.4% of England’s total) reached the highest level of bathing water cleanliness this year, compared with 287 (69.5%) in 2016. 110 beaches attained “Good” status, leaving 26 as “sufficient”, and seven as “poor”.

Surfer and waves
© Rachel Wyatt

This is really great news, and is definitely a good outcome from our long-running campaign to highlight sewage problems and ensure that new EU standards have been achieved at our most visited beaches.

Rachel Wyatt,
MCS Water Quality Programme Manager

The slight decrease in beaches reaching Excellent standards is attributed to a wetter summer experienced in some parts of England.

Rachel Wyatt, MCS Water Quality Programme Manager, says the results are very similar to last year, and show that our most popular beaches are generally maintaining a good level of water quality despite some wet weather days this summer. “This is really great news, and is definitely a good outcome from our long-running campaign to highlight sewage problems and ensure that new EU standards have been achieved at our most visited beaches,” she says.

“Working in partnership has been key to the success”, Rachel continues. “We’ll still be working hard to ensure that beaches struggling to make the grade are invested in, and to ensure that next year even more beaches are receiving top marks. We must have resilient sewage systems, and reduced pollution from farm land when it rains, so that our bathing waters can remain excellent even with our changeable weather.”

MCS will keep bathing water quality at the top of the public and political agenda. Equivalent legislation must remain in force when we leave the EU, with the best new science and evidence continuing to guide the way that we manage the quality of our bathing waters, so that we can all enjoy a day at the beach and a dip in the sea.

Check our Good Beach Guide now with the results all up to date for beaches in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We will update the results for the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, plus a few extra voluntarily sampled UK beaches early next year.

Actions you can take

  1. Check out water quality before you head to the beach
  2. Make sure popular swimming beaches are protected
  3. Find out about Blueprint for Water
  4. Only flush the 3Ps - meet the unflushables
  5. Join a beach clean
  6. Explore 'Near You' incorporating the 'Good Beach Guide'
  7. Visit the beachwatch website
  8. Organise a beach clean
  9. Visit the Unflushables website

Did you know?…

UK seas and shores are a place for leisure, sport, and a holiday destination for millions annually

Every day millions of microplastics enter the sea from personal care products such as scrubs and toothpastes

MCS launched its Beachwatch programme in 1994

Why not join a beach clean ... or organise one?

To date, our beach clean volunteers have removed 6 million pieces of litter from our beaches and collected marine litter data to support our campaigns for cleaner seas and beaches.

Learn more and join a beach clean

Support MCS while you shop at M&S

M&S Sparks

Find out more