Close window

Enjoy clean beach water this summer

With summer well and truly here it’s time to grab your bucket and spade, pack a picnic and head to the wonderful English seaside. Experts from the Environment Agency offer their advice on keeping the beaches and bathing water clean this summer.

Did you know there are 415 designated bathing waters across England?

The Environment Agency sampling teams test the water at each of these from May to September. In total we take around 7,000 samples per season. These tests help us to determine how clean the water is so you know the best places to paddle and swim.

Every bathing water has a sign letting you know how the water has been classified – either Excellent, Good, Sufficient or Poor. When it rains, bathing water quality can be affected. So at over 150 bathing waters we use Met Office data to offer near real-time water quality information. You can find out more information on our Bathing Water Data Explorer and on signs at the beach.

Water quality at our beaches is cleaner than ever, 98.5% of these passed the standards in 2016. Along with water companies, farmers, and other environmental organisations, big steps have been made over the last 20 years to improve bathing water quality and this work continues.


Water quality sampling at Ladram Bay, Devon.

#binit4beaches – help keep our beaches and sea clean

Did you know there are lots of simple things you can do at home, or while at the beach to help protect water quality?

  • Make a fat trap to use in the kitchen. Fats, oils and grease can block drains and pipes.
  • Only flush the 3Ps: pee, paper and poo. Wet wipes and cotton buds should be put in the bin.
  • Only leave paw prints and footprints in the sand. Pick up your dog mess from the beach, and also the roads and pavements where it can get into the drains
  • Don’t feed the locals! Put food picnic waste in the bin to discourage scavenging birds from the beach and town area.