Defra announced last week that four swimming areas in England have progressed to public consultation stage to be considered for bathing water designation. They are Sykes Lane bathing beach and Whitwell Creek at Rutland Water, Firestone Bay in Plymouth, and a section of the River Deben at Waldringfield, Suffolk.

Read more and access the consultation, which closes on 24 March.

Defra press release

In a separate consultation, Defra is considering de-designating Tunstall Beach as a bathing site, given cliff erosion has reduced public access and made sampling unfeasible.

Defra has rejected a reported eight other applications for bathing rivers, saying applications have to meet certain criteria, including how many people bathe there and the existence of infrastructure like toilets, before they can proceed to public consultation.

The government’s rejection of all but one application for bathing water status for English rivers is “very disappointing”, environmentalists say.

Campaigners slam government river bathing decision – BBC News

Part of the River Deben in Suffolk is still in the running but campaigners for clean water say proposals for eight other river sites were declined.

Designation as an official bathing site obliges the Environment Agency to regularly test water quality.

Campaigners ask why five bathing area applications rejected for English rivers | Rivers | The Guardian

Campaigners are calling for more transparency from government after five applications to turn sections of English rivers into bathing areas were rejected, despite promises from ministers that cleaning up rivers was a priority.

Officials have rejected the application for three areas of the River Wharfe in Yorkshire to be given the status, which requires more rigorous testing for bacteria from discharged sewage and is an attempt to force a river clean up.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has also turned down applications for the River Tyne at Wylam in Northumberland and the River Kent in Cumbria, much of which is a protected site of special scientific interest.

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