Shocking new map shows 22 UK areas where water is too filthy to swim | UK | News

Swimmers in the UK have been cautioned to avoid several bathing spots due to high pollution levels.

The Environment Agency has classified hundreds of locations as official bathing spots, allowing people to enjoy natural swimming areas.

However, our interactive map reveals that 18 out of 425 locations have “poor” water quality.

A demonstration led by Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) saw angry swimmers protest at more than 30 locations, from Brighton’s West Pier to Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth.

These protests followed reports of millions of liters of raw sewage being discharged into Windermere in the Lake District over a 10-hour period in February.

This alert comes a month after thousands marched to swimming spots nationwide, protesting raw sewage discharges.

On May 18, campaigners gathered at beaches, rivers, and lakes, demanding an end to sewage discharges in all bathing and high-priority nature sites by 2030.

The Environment Agency reports that out of its official bathing spots, 281 have “excellent” water quality and 99 are “good”.

But 18 sites have been deemed “poor” and should be avoided.

Of these 18 sites, five were rated as acceptable last year, with Littlestone in Kent previously classified as “good”.

Three others—Porthluney in Cornwall, Southsea East in Portsmouth, and St Annes North in Blackpool—were rated “sufficient”, while the River Deben Estuary in Suffolk was not listed as a bathing spot last year.

The list of spots to avoid includes popular seaside towns such as Blackpool North, Bridlington South Beach, Bognor Regis (Aldwick), Scarborough South Bay, and three locations in Weston-super-Mare.

The Environment Agency has also issued permanent warnings against swimming at four official bathing sites.

Throughout the year, the agency tests water quality at these sites for harmful bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Intestinal enterococci.

Each site is rated based on yearly test results as “excellent”, “good”, “sufficient”, or “poor”. The ratings on the map reflect the Environment Agency’s water tests conducted throughout 2023.

Water quality: Poor

Blackpool North

Bognor Regis (Aldwick)

Bridlington South Beach

Dunster Beach




River Deben Estuary, Waldringfield

Scarborough South Bay

Southsea East

St Annes North

St Mary’s Bay (Kent)

Tynemouth Cullercoats

Weston Main

Weston-super-Mare Sand Bay

Weston-super-Mare Uphill Slipway

Wharfe at Cromwell, Ilkley

Wolvercote Mill Stream

Permanent advice against bathing is in place at these spots

Clacton (Groyne 41)


Ilfracombe Wildersmouth

Burnham Jetty North

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