Seas and Oceans: Pollution Control

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 21st March 2023.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight Conservative, East Yorkshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure that the quality of sea water (a) in and around Bridlington south beach and (b) nationally is improved; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Bridlington South Bay is a priority bathing water investigation for The Bathing Water Partnership in Yorkshire, which is a multi-agency group comprising of the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and local councils. They are committed to resolving the situation as soon as possible and around £2 million has been invested by Yorkshire Water over the last 3 years to investigate which includes intensive survey work and microbial techniques.

The testing indicates that faecal bacteria from birds is always present and is sometimes present from humans and dogs, and it highlighted a possible risk of bacteria from seaweed and sediments. The Bathing Water Partnership held an open meeting for elected council members last month to explain the findings and discuss the continued investigation.

Substantial improvements have been made to bathing water quality. In the early 1990s, just 28% of bathing waters met the highest standards in force at that time. In 2015, new stricter standards were introduced.

In 2022, 97.1% met the minimum standard of Sufficient, with 92.8% meeting the highest standards of Good and Excellent.

Overall bathing water quality has improved significantly over the last decade, with a continuing upward trend. This is due to robust Environment Agency regulation and working with partners. In most places bathing water is now better than it has been for many years.

The Environment Agency have driven £2.5 billion of investment and facilitated partnerships to bring about the change needed to make our coastal bathing waters a success story.

While progress has been made, there is still much more to be done to ensure cleaner and healthier waters for people to enjoy. This requires a combined effort from water companies, farmers, regulators, councils and local businesses. These groups need to get the basics right or face legal action.

We know that improvements can take time and investment from the water industry, farmers and local communities, but where the investment is made, standards improve. We continue to work with these key stakeholders to identify what action is needed to meet the required standards.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes1 person thinks so

No1 person thinks not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.