England's bathing waters cleanest ever
England's bathing waters are cleaner than ever, with a record 99.5% of beaches, lake and river shores meeting European standards, the environment ministry said on Thursday.Only two of the country's 413 bathing sites failed to meet minimum water quality standards - the ladies' pond on London's Hampstead Heath and Staithes in Yorkshire.
The results are an improvement on 2005, when 98.8% of monitored waters were up to minimum standards.
Environment minister Ian Pearson said: "This year's results represent the highest compliance with European bathing water standards since monitoring began. We should be very proud of the consistently high standard of water quality being achieved each year at our bathing waters.
Defra put the improvement down to investments in environmental protection, and said they should continue thanks to schemes such as the 'catchment sensitive farming' initiative launched in April.
"Work is continuing to improve water quality still further, by upgrading sewerage infrastructure and tackling diffuse water pollution from farming and urban sources. This still affects the quality of bathing water at some of our beaches, and we will be working closely with farmers and others to reduce this type of pollution."
"The money that has been invested by water companies and others since the 1990s to improve water quality is now showing real results, bringing benefits to the environment, public health and tourism," Ian Pearson said.
From 2015 higher standards for bathing water quality will be brought in and more information made available to the public at beaches and online.
More information on England's bathing water quality can be found here.