Of the UK’s 599 designated bathing waters, 4.2% failed to comply with EU bathing water standards this year, up from 3.5% in 2007. In 2006 record compliance was reached, with only 0.5% of waters below par (ENDS Report 370, p 13 ).
The fall in compliance has been blamed on the summer’s heavy rain washing pollutants into watercourses and on to coastal waters.
The results will have disappointed DEFRA, which is aiming to improve bathing water compliance in the lead up to the introduction of the revised EU bathing water Directive in 2015 (ENDS Report 370, p 45 ).
This will require non-compliant bathing waters to be closed which could affect tourism-based economies of coastal towns.