BATHING WATERS A BEACON OF EXCELLENCE

Beaches in the North East of England are cited as beacons of excellence when it comes to bathing water. This Government recognition is a measure of our ongoing efforts to improve the quality of rivers and coastal waters for the benefit of people, the environment and wildlife.

Thirty-two of the region’s 34 Bathing Waters were given either an ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ status, and every one of the North East’s coastal sites passed the most recent water quality standards.

In November 2017 the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced 25 of the North East bathing waters met the excellent standard, seven were classified as good, two as sufficient and none as poor.

Compliance is based on the current, and previous four years of, sample data (a maximum of 80 samples per beach, from 2014 to 2017). The samples are taken by the Environment Agency between May and September each year to assess the bathing waters against the strict regulations.

Speaking on the day of the announcement, our Wastewater Director Richard Warneford said: “Our two decades of investment have yielded significant benefits, and we are confident that by maintaining focus upon the North East coastline we can continue to drive improvements and make the region’s coast a beacon for excellent bathing water.

“Investment in improved storm water storage facilities throughout our network over the years and through our Rainwise initiative, where we remove surface water from our sewer network and divert it into the natural environment, will have contributed to these results.

“Back in 2000, only four North East bathing waters achieved the standards that were in place at the time, so today shows a massive improvement that we and all of our partners can be proud of. We place the environment at the heart of what we do and are extremely proud of the investment and partnership working that we carry out to make our beaches a great place to visit.”

The results have been heralded a huge success despite the summer rain. Rainwater that runs off through urban areas and agricultural land into the sea can result in a temporary dip in water quality. This means water quality will fluctuate each year depending on the weather.

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