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…


The Environment Agency monitors water quality in England and Wales and a whopping £3million is spent every year on sampling and analysing bathing waters. Every week during the bathing season samples are taken at our 32 bathing waters. These are then tested and the results are posted on the Environment Agency’s website. We have started to use scientific techniques to improve our knowledge of pollution sources, and we are using DNA testing to help us understand what sort of pollution is causing problems.

Environment Agency

Safer, cleaner beaches

Next time you’re at the beach you’ll find signs with more information on them, more bins to help keep litter off the beaches and more dog free zones. Because of work like this several of our resorts achieved Keep Britain Tidy’s Seaside Award in 2013. We can all help the North West’s Beach Managers by doing simple things such as checking where we can walk our dogs and taking our rubbish home. Joining an organised beach clean through LOVEmyBEACH or the Marine Conservation Society is also a great way you can make a difference.


Sustainable drainage

70% of the sewerage systems in England and Wales are made up of combined sewers, meaning they carry both sewage and rain water off for treatment at the sewage works. A combined storm overflow (CSO) is effectively a safety valve which prevents sewage backing up into homes and businesses. In extreme circumstances CSOs act as relief valves for the sewerage system by discharging directly into rivers and the sea, rather than to a sewage treatment works, preventing rainwater mixed with sewage from flooding homes. Some CSO discharges will affect bathing waters and the more rain we have the more discharges occur.