Wales designates 24 bathing areas as sensitive

The Welsh National Assembly has designated 24 coastal bathing areas as ‘sensitive’ under the European Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive, requiring that all significant discharges receive greater than secondary treatment standards.


Wastewater discharged into the newly designated areas already has to undergo secondary treatment in order to achieve the standards required by the European Bathing Water Directive. However, under the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive, they will also be required to undergo advanced treatment such as ultraviolet disinfection – although these criteria are already being followed, an Assembly spokesperson told edie.

“We are committed to a steady improvement to freshwater and bathing quality in Wales,” said Welsh Environment Minister Sue Essex. “Today’s announcement, while essentially confirming the action that has already been put in hand, nonetheless recognises the efforts that have been made to ensure clean water on our coastline for both people and aquatic life.”

In November last year, it was revealed that the overall quality of Britain’s beaches had reached an all time high, with 97% attaining the mandatory standard required by the Bathing Waters Directive, and 60% meeting the stricter guideline criteria (see related story). In Wales alone, the standard was slightly slower, with 93% of beaches complying with the mandatory level. Five beaches failed the standard, all in the north of the region. They were: Llandudno North and West beaches, Rhyl, Prestatyn and Tywyn.

The 24 sensitive bathing waters are: Swansea, Bracelet, Limeslade, Langland and Caswell Bays; Pembrey; Amroth; the North, South and Castle Beachs at Temby; Dale; Newgale; Poppit Sands; Aberporth; Tresaith; North and South Beaches at Aberystwyth; Tywyn; Criccieth; Pwllheli; Rhosneigr; Llandudno North Shore; Colwyn Bay, and Rhyl.

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