25 English beaches set to fail EU water quality tests

Last year the English coast was the cleanest since records began

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The Independent Online

As optimistic sunchasers start scouting locations for a bank holiday getaway next weekend, they might want to avoid a few coastal locations that the Government is saying are not quite up to scratch.

Up to 25 English beaches are likely to fail new EU bathing water standards tests, according to the Environment Agency.

There will be a government announcement as to how many English beaches have met the standards, imposed by the EU's revised Water Bathing Directive, by the end of the year.

former Environment Minister Michael Meacher swims at Blackpool Beach

The quality of bathing water has, however, gone up in the past year.

According to an Environment Agency spokesman: "at the beginning of the 2014 season, 40 beaches looked likely to fail.

"There have been improvements over the last year so less are likely to fail, with 25 now predicted to be at risk."

From 2015 the current EU Bathing Water Directive was replaced by a revised Bathing Water Directive.

Water quality data is gathered by the Environment Agency (check the quality of water at your local beach here)  and the annual results will be announced later this year.

Ed Mitchell, Executive Director of Environment and Business at the Environment Agency, said: "Water quality at English beaches is better than it’s ever been after it reached record levels last year, and we are working hard with others to improve it further still.

An elderly couple soak up the sun on Blackpool beach

"Good bathing water quality is essential for people’s health, local tourism and economic growth, and everyone can play their part.

"We want water companies, businesses, farmers, local authorities and people living, working or visiting seaside towns to help us improve water quality."


As part of the new EU standards from 2016, local councils will have to display signs at all bathing waters showing if the new measures have been passed and whether or not swimming is advised.

Here are the 25 beaches predicted to fail:


Blackpool Central

Blackpool North

Budleigh Salterton

Burnham Jetty North

Clacton (Groyne 41)





Henleaze Lake

Ilfracombe Wildersmouth


Lancing, Beach Green

Lyme Regis Church Cliff Beach

Morecambe South




Seaton (Cornwall)




Teignmouth Town

Walpole Bay, Margate