To the lighthouse
© Natasha Ewins

Nine beaches designated as bathing waters on England's south coast

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 16 March 2018

MCS welcomes news that designations of bathing water status have been announced by Defra for eight beaches in Cornwall, and one in East Dorset.

Northcott Beach, Cornwall
© Andrew Bone

These beaches are well known and popular for swimming and water sports so it’s great news that the water quality will now be tested during the summer, when they are used the most.

Rachel Wyatt,
MCS Water Quality Programme Manager

We gave our support for the applications by Bournemouth Borough Council, for Manor Steps beach, and by Cornwall County Council, for the eight spots in Cornwall, based on their popularity with bathers and other sea users. Now that they are designated, water quality will be monitored regularly between May and September, helping to make sure that vital information about potential sources of pollution can be made available to the public.

The beaches are:

Rachel Wyatt, MCS Water Quality Programme Manager, says “These beaches are well known and popular for swimming and water sports so it’s great news that the water quality will now be tested during the summer, when they are used the most.”

“This information can be used by the public to help them decide when and where they go into the sea”, Rachel Wyatt says. “It can be used by the Environment Agency and water companies to help direct any investment and improvements that might be needed to improve water quality in the future. Being able to enjoy a dip at the coast is important not only for individuals’ health and well being, providing opportunities for recreation outdoors, but it is extremely important to areas like Cornwall and Dorset which rely heavily on coastal tourism to support the local economy.”

All of the beaches, other than South Fistral, already feature on the MCS Good Beach Guide. Now all will have their most recent test results, and their longer term water quality performance, shown on the Guide. If you’re going for a swim, we recommend you choose a beach which has excellent or good water quality.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “This is great news for anyone who enjoys a trip to the seaside. Britain’s beaches are visited around 150 million times each year and the water at these nine beaches, along with more than 400 bathing waters around England, will be tested by the Environment Agency to help protect the health of visitors”.

Actions you can take

  1. Join the fight against the 'unflushables'
  2. Find out about Blueprint for Water
  3. Explore 'Near You' incorporating the 'Good Beach Guide'
  4. Make sure popular swimming beaches are protected
  5. Only flush the 3Ps - meet the unflushables
  6. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2017
  7. Check out water quality before you head to the beach

Did you know?…

To date, our beach cleans have removed 6 million pieces of litter

It’s estimated that one rubbish truck load of plastic litter enters the ocean every minute

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