The bathing water season has started today with regular testing of water quality from the Environment Agency now underway at bathing sites across East Devon.

Throughout the season, which runs from today (May 15) until the end of September, the Environment Agency says it 'will regularly monitor water quality at bathing waters across the country to give bathers the up-to-date information they need.'

The monitoring means the Environment Agency can assess whether extra action is needed to address water quality at these sites. Dips in water quality can occur due to factors like rainfall, wind and high tides. 

Information on all 424 designated bathing water sites nationally and any forecasted drops in water quality will be published on the Swimfo: Find a Bathing Water website. This provides immediate access to information on every bathing water in England.

The Environment Agency works with local authorities to ensure signs at these swimming locations to inform bathers about any possible dips in water quality as a result of rainfall, wind and high tides.

Environment Agency Chair Alan Lovell said: “England’s much-loved beaches are an essential part of the Great British summer and many businesses and communities rely on their good health for tourism and trade.

“Our Environment Agency officers are out throughout the summer monitoring the quality of local bathing waters and we can take action if minimum standards aren’t being met. Anyone who wants to go swimming can check the results for free on the Swimfo website.

“Bathing water sites have shown enormous improvements in recent decades following significant investment and hard work. There is still more to be done to ensure cleaner and healthier waters for people to enjoy. This will require a combined effort from water companies, farmers, regulators, councils, local businesses and the general public.” 

In the autumn, Defra will publish its classifications – Sufficient, Good, Excellent or Poor – for each designated bathing water site.

To reduce risk from bathing waters, Public Health England and the Environment Agency also offer advice in their ‘swim healthy’ guidance which is available to read before making any decision on swimming.