388 top-rated beaches after scorching summer boosts visitors to seaside
Beaches around the country achieved top water quality standards this year as millions flocked to the coast to enjoy the record-breaking hot weather.
And in Lincolnshire, new results show that all 9 of the county’s designated bathing waters have been rated ‘excellent’.
Beaches at Skegness, Ingoldmells, Chapel St Leonards, Anderby, Moggs Eye, Sutton on Sea, Mablethorpe, Humberston Fitties have kept their top rating for water quality. With the addition of Cleethorpes beach, which has moved from ‘good’ to ‘excellent’, Lincolnshire’s coast is remains ready to welcome seaside visitors.
Norm Robinson, Area Manager for Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire at the Environment Agency, said:
“It’s fantastic news that Cleethorpes beach has received the highest rating for water quality – it means all our bathing waters in Lincolnshire are now excellent and it echoes the progress made across the country, as our beaches are cleaner now than at any time since the industrial revolution.
“But we know there’s more work to do, which is why we’ll continue to work hard with water companies, local authorities, businesses, farmers and the community to maintain water quality at bathing waters right across the county.”
Portfolio Holder for Coastal Economy at East Lindsey District Council, Councillor Steve Kirk, said:
“It’s wonderful to see that, once again, all bathing waters along the east coast of Lincolnshire have been awarded ‘excellent’ status.
“Tourism is vital to our District’s economy and our coastal strip attracts millions of visitors each year. Being able to offer Blue Flag beaches and the highest standard of clean bathing waters are an important part of creating an attractive and popular coastal destination.”
Councillor Colin Davie, executive member for economy and place at Lincolnshire County Council, said:
“This is fantastic news, enormous credit must go to all teams who work so hard to keep our waters so clean.
“We welcome millions of visitors each year to the Lincolnshire coast and we look forward to people enjoying what the county has to offer for many years to come.”
Nationally, 97.9% of bathing waters passed tough standards following a programme of water quality testing at 420 bathing spots carried out by the Environment Agency (EA) from May to September.
The results coincided with a boost to tourism as visitors to the seaside enjoyed England’s hottest summer on record.
The results also show that 92.4% of the beaches and inland lakes tested were given the top rating of ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good.’ Beaches at Whitby (Yorkshire), Sidmouth Jacobs Ladder (Devon) and Skegness (Lincolnshire) have all kept their Excellent rating for the fourth year in a row.
In the early 1990s just 28% of bathing waters would have met today’s standards but dramatic improvements have been made to water quality over the last two decades, in part due to EA regulation reducing pollution from water companies and industry, and the work of local councils and communities.
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said:
“This is great news for anyone who enjoys a trip to the seaside. We want everyone to be confident in the quality of our bathing waters and that’s why the Environment Agency carry out regular tests to protect the health of visitors.
“Britain’s beaches are visited around 130 million times each year, generating over £7 billion for the economy. Working together we can all keep driving up standards to reduce pollution, ensuring everyone can continue to enjoy our iconic coastline.”
Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency said:
“Seaside tourism is worth over £7 billion to the economy and good water quality is essential for people to visit and enjoy our beautiful beaches.
“The Environment Agency’s hard work has helped 388 beaches achieve the top Excellent or Good ratings this year and at beach cleans throughout the summer I’ve seen the commitment of local communities and campaigners to reduce pollution and protect our environment.
“Everyone can take small steps to help us protect water quality as we continue work with water companies, councils and local communities to maintain high bathing water standards.”
Throughout the bathing water season from May to September, staff from the Environment Agency take up to 20 samples at each designated bathing spot. These are tested in Environment Agency laboratories and the results are published online.
This year, more people than ever checked out the EA’s bathing water website the Bathing Water Data Explorer which includes a searchable map allowing you to check the water quality at beaches and bathing waters before making a visit. The website, featuring the latest test results available was visited 109,400 times – more than double the amount from 2017.
The general public can help keep bathing waters clean by following this advice:
- Always put litter in the bin at the beach or take it away with you to dispose of at home;
- Check your drains at home aren’t misconnected, sending dirty water from toilets, showers and dishwashers into the wrong pipes and into rivers and the sea. Use a ConnectRight accredited plumber;
- Wet wipes, cotton buds and sanitary items should go in the bin not be flushed.
- Don’t pour fats, oils and grease down the sink, these can pollute rivers and coastal waters and can set hard in pipes which causes blockages.