Bathing Water classifications 2017

Results day for Bathing Waters in the UK always piques interest in water quality around the UK. Once again we are pleased to see that there is a consistently positive picture presented by the results, which highlight the continued investment and work being done by regulators, water companies and campaigners.

This year, 98.3% of England’s bathing waters met the tough standards which is very encouraging news even after the wetter summer. 92% of bathing waters achieved Excellent or Good standards.

Class 2016 2017
Excellent 287 270
Good 98 110
Sufficient 22 26
Poor 6



For more details on the results – Bathing Waters Explained

We must be mindful though, that results day only truly provides the average water quality at any given bathing water. Water quality can fluctuate day to day, hour to hour and it is vital that real-time information continues to be the public’s first point of call before getting in the sea. The Safer Seas Service is the only national system that provides you real-time water quality information, for free at over 300 beaches.

Bathing Water quality Clean barreling wave in low sunlight

Clean Wave in low light. Image: Mike Lacey

Bathing water quality and the Safer Seas Service

This season the Safer Seas Service has reported on more Combined Sewer Overflows than ever before, this is largely due to a number of short but heavy rainfall events, leading to increased strain on the sewer network.

Combined Sewer Overflows are designed to relieve the strain of the network and prevent effluent backing up into our homes. This does however mean that raw sewage is sometimes directed into our environment and with it comes risks to bathing water quality. The Safer Seas Service is designed to alert you to these risks and direct you towards beaches where water quality hasn’t been impacted.

Here at SAS, we continue to review the service and look at how we can improve the information it provides. Over the next few months, we will be working on improving how we bring you this data. Working closely with stakeholders around the UK we will discover new ways to ensure that you are protected from any potential risks to water quality whilst also  continuing to help direct smart investment to the places most in need.

We must not shy away from the excellent work that has got us where we are today with some of the best quality waters in Europe, but must also ensure that we do not let quality slip. We will continue to encourage the regulator and water companies to maintain and improve their high standards to protect year round water users.

To see the seasonal Bathing Water quality result at your local beach, visit the Defra website.

To download the Safer Seas Service or to see real time water quality at your favourite beach* head over to the Safer Seas Service pages of our site.

*please note that outside the bathing season not every beach is provided with real-time data. These are clearly marked as – Out of Season. As soon as data is back online from the Water Companies, the service will be updated.