Bathing Water Designation Community Toolkit

A toolkit for communities who are applying for inland bathing water designation.

We want to see an end to sewage pollution in our rivers, lakes and all other inland waterways by 2030.

Go to the Protecting Wild Waters website

To do this we are calling for 200 designated bathing waters by 2030 and we need your help. Together, we can protect our wild waters and restore rivers and lakes so they are thriving, clean and healthy for both people and the environment.

The UK’s rivers are in a critical state. At the last assessment, the Environment Agency concluded only 14% of rivers in England were ecologically healthy. Rivers are threatened by a cocktail of pollutants: from sewage pollution, agriculture, industry and transport. A third of all rivers are failing due to sewage pollution and in 2021, water companies discharged untreated sewage into rivers for 375,000 hours.

Officially designated Bathing Waters are the only blue spaces where water quality is regularly monitored for its effect on human health, and legal obligations are put on polluting industries to clean up their act. In the UK there are currently only 3 stretches of river, all of which have been won through local campaigns.

This is where you have the power to create a change both at a local and national level. Our Protecting Wild Waters toolkit will support you with the application process and also equip you with how to create a campaign in your community. Historically local authorities have applied for bathing water designation, but there is a growing movement of activism from communities taking place which you can be part of and make an application yourself.

Get involved in Protecting Wild Waters