Bathing water quality


The Environment Agency collects data on the cleanliness of bathing waters around the country and its website includes the bathing water data explorer. 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.Beach in Lancashire

The latest results, that were published by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in November 2019, were the fifth 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. One of the beaches in Lancashire were classed as excellent, six were classed as good, while the remaining three beaches only reached the 'sufficient' standard. Because of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic there were no classifications published for 2020.

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, are patrolled by lifeguards, accessible and have attained the higher guideline standard of water quality. It refers only to the busier 'resort' beaches. The 2020 results revealed 68 beaches across the country gaining the award, with two of these being in the North West. One of the two is Blackpool South, which had also won the award for three years running from 2016 to 2018, and had previously been the only winner in the North West region.

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). No announcements have been made yet for 2020, but they have been discontinued.

Further analysis

Full report on bathing water quality 2019/20, PDF (631 KB)

 Page updated December 2020