Results from annual testing has revealed bathing water along the Suffolk coastline is amongst the cleanest in England.
Six locations along the Suffolk Coastal and Waveney coastline are tested each year by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra); Lowestoft (South of Claremont Pier), Lowestoft (North of Claremont Pier), Southwold (the Pier) and Southwold (the Denes), Felixstowe North and Felixstowe South.
For the fourth consecutive year, bathing water at Lowestoft (South of Claremont Pier), Felixstowe (North) and Felixstowe (South) has been classified as ‘excellent’, which is the highest possible bathing water rating. Lowestoft (North of Claremont Pier) and Southwold Pier have also both been rated as ‘excellent’, for the third year running. At Southwold (the Denes), the water has been classified as ‘good’, for the third consecutive year.
Over recent years, the acceptable standards of cleanliness have become stricter and therefore achieving an ‘excellent’ rating now requires higher levels of water quality than ever before.
Cllr Michael Ladd, Waveney’s cabinet member for Tourism, Economic Development and Rural Affairs said: “We are delighted that bathing water in Lowestoft and Southwold has once again been rated as excellent. The beaches at Southwold Pier and Lowestoft South are already in receipt of a Blue Flag award, which recognises the outstanding quality of our beaches and high water quality is included within the Blue Flag criteria. However the release of this year’s bathing water results further highlights that Waveney’s coastline is a wonderful place to visit, enjoy and be active.”
Cllr Andy Smith, Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet member for Economic Development and Coastal Management said: “Bathing water must now meet strict European standards and so anyone visiting our coastline can be confident that our bathing waters are of the highest possible cleanliness. We hope this will encourage even more people to enjoy our wonderful Suffolk coast.”
Water at 418 outdoor swimming spots in England is tested annually and classifications are based on the level of bacteria in the water, as monitored by the Environment Agency between May and September over a four-year period.
Bathing waters are much cleaner and have continually improved since 1990, when just 27% met the then European water quality standards – and this is against a backdrop of the standards becoming stricter over the years.
This is due to massive efforts over the last twenty years by Defra, the Environment Agency, water companies, councils, local communities, farmers and environmental organisations to reduce pollution and look after rivers, lakes and the sea.
Despite the high water quality, some bacteria will always be present in bathing water. To reduce this risk, Public Health England advises:
- don’t swallow water from the sea, beach streams, lakes or ponds;
- avoid splashing water into your mouth;
- before eating, wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser;
- always follow safety advice and take notice of signs on the beach.
More information on the 2015 bathing water classifications can be found at: http://environment.data.gov.uk/bwq/profiles/index.html