A record number of swimming spots in England have been designated as bathing sites, the UK government has confirmed.

There has been widespread coverage, including in BBCITVThe Guardian, Independent and Sky, of the government’s announcement that 27 new bathing water sites will be designated across England. The decision follows a public consultation last year.

The Environment Agency will now conduct weekly testing at all 451 bathing water sites for the duration of the 2024 bathing water season, which runs between 15 May and 30 September.



Last year, 96% of bathing waters in England met the minimum standards, with 90% classified as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, up from 76% in 2010, despite the classification standards becoming stricter in 2015. Out of the 423 bathing sites measured in England, 405 met at least the minimum standard of the Bathing Water Regulations. But the number rated as “Excellent” fell and the number rated as “Poor” rose to its highest level since 2015.

Water Minister Robbie Moore said: “The value our bathing waters bring to local communities is incredibly valuable – providing social, physical and positive health and wellbeing benefits to people around the country – and I am pleased to have approved a further 27 new bathing water sites for this year.

These popular swimming spots will now undergo regular monitoring to ensure bathers have up-to-date information on the quality of the water and enable action to be taken if minimum standards aren’t being met.”


New bathing water sites in England. Source: Defra


Environment Agency Chair Alan Lovell said: “The importance of England’s bathing waters for residents and visitors alike cannot be understated, which is why the Environment Agency provides rigorous testing to ensure that bathers can make informed decisions before swimming in one of our 451 sites.

We know that improvements can take time and investment from the water industry, farmers and local communities, but where the investment is made, standards can improve.”

The Parliamentary Statement from Robbie Moore, MP, Minister for Water & Rural Growth can be read here. The press release from Defra can be read here.

No Comment

Comments are closed.