Welsh bathing water standards hit record high
Wales' bathing waters standards for 2011 came in higher than England's, with 98.9% of Welsh beaches meeting mandatory public health and environment standards, according to the Environment Agency (EA).
Data gathered by the agency revealed that 87 of the 88 of the bathing waters monitored around Wales passed the minimum standard, including seven newly designated bathing waters which were identified this year.
In addition, 93.2% of beaches in Wales met stringent European guidelines on water quality, compared with 88.2% of English beaches.
Commenting on the results, Welsh environment minister John Griffiths, said: "I am very pleased that Wales' beaches continue to demonstrate high water quality standards.
"Whilst the results are very positive they show that there is still work to be done and I will continue to place a high priority on work to drive forward the quality of Wales' beaches.
Meanwhile EA Wales director, Chris Mills said while the results demonstrate the extent to which bathing water quality in Wales has improved over the past 20 years that there is still improvement work needed.
He said: "We have achieved a lot, however there is still more we can all do to drive further improvements in water quality. Everyone needs to play a part in this, and we are working closely with farmers, water companies, industry, Local Authorities and communities themselves to do more."
Both Wales and England are in the process of implementing new bathing water standards which must be met by 2015. According to the EA, The revised standards are "simpler, more stringent again and have an even greater focus on public health".