Over the last 20 years we’ve made huge progress in making our beaches and bathing waters cleaner.
In 1988 only 18% of our bathing waters met minimum standards, in 2016 this was 100%.
Below is information on how we got there and how we’ll keep it that way…


Please help us have cleaner seas by loving your drains! Making sure that you don’t flush or pour the wrong things down them can have an impact on our North West bathing waters. Putting things down toilets, sinks or drains that should go in the bin instead means they don’t get treated and if the drains get blocked or there’s heavy rain, they can end up in the sea. We’d rather have beaches we can be proud of!

This [Download not found] gives you some nifty tips to keeping your drains, sinks and toilets well loved.


North West beaches open

The revised EU Bathing Water Directive is about the quality of bathing waters – it doesn’t mean beaches will close. Bathing waters in the North West are already cleaner than they’ve been for decades and we’re working hard to meet the stricter standards coming into force in 2015. Under the revised Directive, bathing waters classified as ‘poor’ at the end of 2015 based on four years of data, will be required to display signs from 2016 advising people not to go in the water. If a bathing water does not meet the revised standards for five consecutive years, the bathing water will be de-designated and signs will stay in place to advise against bathing.

Turning tides doesn’t want that to happen. We’ve come a long way since 1988 when only 18% passed the current EU Directive across the North West to 88% passing in 2013. The revised Directive is a huge challenge for us so we’re working with partners, volunteers, businesses and local communities to do everything we can for cleaner seas. We’re determined to have bathing waters we can be proud of.

Please get involved – go to ‘What can I do?’ or see our events section. Thanks.

pebble heart on beach


This week we chatted to Chris Smith, chair of the Environment Agency, about all things LOVEmyBEACH and our North West Turning tides partnership. He was attending a meeting with agency staff and took time to hear more about all the great projects being delivered across the region. We had our giant loo to get our ‘what not to flush’ message across and of course the ‘dog’ and fake poo! It was also a chance for us to support the connectright campaign.

Chris Smith