Bathing waters off beaches across the South East have achieved their highest ever ratings in Defra’s Bathing Water summer sampling regime. 

Swimmers can now enjoy ‘Excellent’ water quality at 59 out of the region’s 83 beaches compared with 58 last year. 21 are rated ‘Good’, 3 ‘Sufficient’ and – for the fourth year running – none are ‘Poor.’ 

Southern Water has invested more than £32 million on improving bathing waters in the past five years including major programmes in Worthing, Sussex and Shanklin, Isle of Wight. 

Barry Woodham, Southern Water’s Bathing Water Manager said: “The trend of improvement has continued again in 2021 thanks to the collaborative approach taken between councils, regulators, charities and Southern Water. 30 years ago only 41 per cent of beaches in the region met the ‘Sufficient’ standard” 

He also underlined that bathing water is affected by many factors: “Southern Water has an important role as one of the custodians of the environment. There are a diverse range of pollutions which can impact water quality – contaminated rainwater running off roads and agricultural land, wastewater from privately owned treatment works, boats and animals on the beach such as dogs and seabirds all play a part” 

The need for improvement does not stop here. Southern Water is investing £2 billion over the next five years to improve the health of rivers and seas. It has given a commitment to cut 80% of pollution incidents by 2025 and 80% of storm overflows by 2030.  

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By Ed

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