The challenge

Look how far we've come!

This is the serious bit… millions of people enjoy beaches in the North West – taking a dip in the sea, wandering along the beach, playing in the sand, walking the dog, getting some exercise and fresh air, meeting up with friends and sometimes if we’re lucky, basking in the sunshine! We all need to do our bit to make sure everyone enjoys lovely beaches…

What affects water quality at our beaches?

We check the water quality at our beaches at key locations called ‘bathing waters’ – designated stretches of water where people swim and paddle. The Bathing Water Directive sets out standards of water quality based on how much bacteria is in the water when a water sample is taken. By measuring how much bacteria is in the water we can tell how clean it is. Bacteria can come from many places, including pollution in the sea, litter and dog poo on the beach, or from water washed into the sea from inland, particularly after heavy rain.

Tougher standards – we need your help

From 2015 tougher standards came into force – around twice as stringent as the previous standards. The annual classifications – Excellent, Good, Sufficient, Poor – are now based on up to four years of sample results. A ‘poor’ classification means the water doesn’t yet meet the new standards, and people are advised not to swim or paddle at that bathing water. This may mean local people are put off from using their beaches and visitors choose to go elsewhere and could have a negative impact on the reputation of the area, affecting local businesses and tourism, which many people rely on for jobs.

LOVEmyBEACH supporters want our bathing waters to be even cleaner and all our beaches to meet the standards. We’re working together to raise water quality standards across the North West so please get involved – small actions can make a difference.

Beaches to be proud of

These are not empty words. LOVEmyBEACH is not just about meeting standards – we want to do all we can to make the North West an even better place to live, work and play. We are passionate about the North West coast. How about you?


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The 5 major sources of pollution in our bathing waters

Pollution from sewage
During very wet weather sewers can become full and, under strict conditions, overflow into rivers or seas.

Water draining from farms and farmland
Manure from livestock or poorly stored slurry can wash into rivers and streams resulting in traces of animal poo entering the sea.

Animals and birds on or near beaches
Dog, bird and other animal poo can affect bathing water as it often contains high levels of bacteria (much higher than treated human waste).

Water draining from populated areas
Water draining from urban areas following heavy rain can contain pollution from a variety of sources, including animal and bird poo.

Domestic sewage
Misconnected drains and poorly located and maintained septic tanks can pollute surface water systems.

What's being done?

Lots! There is an action plan for each area plus whole programmes of work by our LOVEmyBEACH partners - find out more on our 'What's new' page or check out the resources.

Raising the bar for our beaches

We want the best for the North West and are aiming high, but the issues we need to tackle can't be solved unless everyone does their bit. That's why we need your help. We all have a role to play so by getting behind LOVEmyBEACH and working together, we can be even prouder of our beaches. Share the love and find out more about what LOVEmyBEACH actions you can take that will make a real difference.

What Can I Do?