Further improvements in bathing waters

Bathing water quality achieved new heights in 2003 as the long struggle to improve sewage treatment continued to pay off, helped by dry and sunny weather.

Across the UK, compliance with the mandatory microbiological standards set in the 1976 EU bathing water Directive was unchanged at 97.8%. However, there was considerable improvement in meeting the tougher guideline microbiological standards.

In Scotland, compliance with guideline standards leapt from below 40% to 67%, aided by improvements to sewage treatment in the south west and north east.

In England, guideline compliance approached the 75% mark for the first time. There was a particular improvement in the north west, where 18 beaches reached guideline standards, compared with three the previous year.

Wales narrowly failed to equal the 100% mandatory compliance achieved last year, but there was a slight improvement in guideline compliance.

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