The Environment Agency collects data on the cleanliness of bathing waters around the country and its website includes the bathing water data explorer. At the foot of this page we have used the Environment Agency's own 'widgets' to show the latest classifications and to give access to detailed pages on their website. From May to September they also show the dates of the latest samples, the sampling results and incidents or warnings of pollution. Above these we have included a small map of the beaches in a Microsoft Power BI slide. Pointing your cursor at the dots will reveal the name and standard of the beach. If you click on the double-headed diagonal arrow near the bottom right of the slide the size of the map will be maximised to the full screen.
The latest results, that were published by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in November 2018, were the fourth measured against standards required by the 2006/7 Bathing Water Directive. The classifications are based on a rolling average over four years, rather than just the last complete year of measurements which the previous classifications used. All but one of the beaches in Lancashire were classed as good, while the remaining one beach only reached the 'sufficient' standard.
Keep Britain Tidy is responsible for the Blue Flag and Seaside Awards in Britain. Blue Flag is an international award scheme which acts as a guarantee to tourists that a beach or marina they are visiting is one of the best in the world. The Blue Flag compares beaches throughout the world that meet high standards of cleanliness and management, promote coastal environmental care, and have attained the higher guideline standard of water quality. It refers only to the busier 'resort' beaches. The 2019 results revealed 71 beaches across the country gaining the award, with none of these being in the North West. Blackpool South had won the award for three years running from 2016 to 2018.
The Seaside Award is focused on raising standards at the coast. The award is said to reflect the great achievements of England's beach managers and helps them in future planning for beach improvements and developments. In 2019, the Keep Britain Tidy website stated that 137 beaches in total achieved the award including 11 in the North West. All of these are in Lancashire. The beaches are Morecambe North and South (Lancaster City Council), Ferry, Jubilee, Marine and Rossall (Wyre Borough Council), St. Annes Pier (Fylde Borough Council) and Bispham, Blackpool North, Central and South (Blackpool Council).
The Environment Agency bathing water widgets below may not show in your browser. You may have to allow scripts (there may be an icon on the right hand side of the address bar). The pollution updates are currently live.
Full report on bathing water quality 2018/2019, PDF (958 KB)
Page updated May 2019