Consultation on Designation of 4 Sites as Bathing Waters

Closed 24 Mar 2023

Opened 10 Mar 2023


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. 


Why your views matter

We are seeking your views on whether any of the 4 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.

The figures in the consultation document focus on the number of people bathing at the sites: adults swimming, and children swimming and paddling. Children who are paddling are counted as bathers because they are more likely than adults to ingest water while paddling.

You only need to respond to the site(s) you wish to. However, all respondants must complete the required 'Consultee Feedback on the Online Survey' section before you are able submit your response to the online survey.

You can respond by:

  • using the online survey (see below)
  • by email:
  • by post:

Bathing Waters Team
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
2 Marsham Street
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 Management sector
  • Water/water Industry sector
  • Member of the General Public
  • Farmers
  • Fishermen
  • Water suppliers
  • Leisure industry
  • Tourism industry
  • Environmental Health Officers
  • Beach Users
  • Stakeholders


  • Natural environment
  • Water quality
  • Bathing waters
  • Inland waterways