Four new wild swimming spots have been announced in England, taking to 424 the total number of official bathing waters across the country.
The sites - Sykes Lane Bathing Beach and Whitwell Creek at Rutland Water, Firestone Bay in Plymouth and a section of the River Deben at Waldringfield, Suffolk - will become designated bathing waters from May 2023, which means they will be subject to regular water quality monitoring.
A bathing water can be a coastal or inland water. New sites are selected by the government’s department for the environment, which looks at criteria such as whether the site has suitable facilities - including toilets, changing areas, first aid and lifeguards, and where investment in water quality improvements would have the most impact.
The Environment Agency regularly monitors water quality at designated bathing water sites, taking samples during the official bathing season, which runs between 15 May and 30 September. It then assesses whether action is needed to cut pollution levels, working with local communities, farmers and water companies to improve water quality at these locations.
Announcing the news, water minister Rebecca Pow said, “These popular swimming spots will now undergo regular monitoring, starting this May, so bathers have up-to-date information on the quality of the water.
“The regular monitoring also means that action can be taken if minimum standards aren’t being met. We now have more bathing waters than ever.”