Consultation on Designation of 27 Sites as Bathing Waters

Closed 10 Mar 2024

Opened 26 Feb 2024


The Bathing Water Regulations (S.I.2013/1675) ("the Regulations") define a bathing water as a surface water where "...the Secretary of State expects a large number of people to bathe, having regard in particular to past trends and any infrastructure or facilities provided, or other measures taken, to promote bathing at those waters."  The objective of designating a beach or inland water as a bathing water is to protect bathers' health by monitoring for intestinal enterococci and E.coli in the water. The Environment Agency (EA) takes water quality samples during the bathing season, which in England runs from 15 May to 30 September. 

The monitoring data are used to make annual water quality classifications of Excellent, Good, Sufficient or Poor. If the water quality does not meet the standards set by the Regulations, the EA will investigate the sources of pollution to identify remedial measures that can be put in place. Bathing waters may be affected by pollution from water company assets such as Combined Sewer Overflows or by diffuse pollution caused by run-off from agricultural and urban areas. 

Through this consultation, Defra is seeking as wide a range of views as possible to support our decision on whether the 27 proposed sites should be added to the list of designated bathing waters in England, in line with the requirements of the Bathing Water Regulations 2013 and the application criteria and evidence requirements published at Bathing waters: apply to designate or de-designate - GOV.UK (

Why your views matter

We are seeking your views on whether any of the 27 proposed sites should be added to the list of designated bathing waters. The consultation document summarises the evidence that has been provided about the level of usage at the sites and the facilities that are provided to support bathing. Any additional evidence can be submitted in your response.

You can respond by:

  • Using the online survey (see below)
  • By email:
  • By post, using the address:

Bathing Waters Team

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

2 Marsham Street

Ground Floor

Seacole Building



What happens next

Defra will review the responses to this consultation before a final ministerial decision is made on whether the site should be designated as a bathing water.

If the site is designated as a bathing water, the Environment Agency will determine a sampling point on the basis of where the greatest number of bathers go into the water. The annual classification would reflect bathing water quality at this point.


  • Environmental campaigners
  • Coastal local authorities
  • Recreation sector
  • Coastal Management sector
  • Water/water Industry sector
  • Water Abstractors
  • Member of the General Public
  • Farmers
  • Water suppliers
  • Leisure industry
  • Tourism industry
  • Environmental Health Officers
  • Beach Users


  • Water quality
  • Bathing waters
  • Inland waterways
  • Rural economy and communities
  • Recreational sector