The Environment Agency has resumed seasonal water quality testing at more than 400 popular swimming spots.
The results from last year showed a high quality, with 97.9 per cent of bathing waters in England meeting the agency’s tough standards. Furthermore 92.4 per cent of all locations, a total of 388, achieved a rating of excellent or good.
The Environment Agency tests quality at every official bathing water to help maintain and improve high standards and inform visitors.
Just 28 per cent of sites in the early 1990s would have met the highest standards today.
Water companies have invested over £2.5 billion on projects aimed at improving water quality at swimming beaches. These companies have signed up to Environment Agency proposals to improve 24 bathing waters between 2020 and 2025.
Helen Wakeham, head of water quality at the Environment Agency, said: “Water quality has improved at English beaches over the last two decades giving locals and tourists a better experience as well as benefiting the environment.
“Improving water quality at our beaches is a fantastic achievement and is a testament to the work of Environment Agency staff, water companies, local authorities, farmers, volunteers and NGOs. It shows what energy and commitment can achieve for the environment and people.”
“Water quality test data is published on the Environment Agency’s website and notifications of water quality issues for over 350 locations in the UK are available via the Safer Seas Service app, so we urge people to check as part of planning your trip to the beach.”
Pollution from sewage and agriculture are often the most significant factors affecting water quality, although there is some local variation.
In a speech to the Waterwise conference in March, Environment Agency chief executive, Sir James Bevan, warned that the country faced water shortages within 25 years if steps are not taken to improve.