Predicting Short Term Pollution at our Bathing Beaches – New Trial Starts

The Environment Agency is working with local authority partners across the North West as part of a national trial on the prediction of short term pollution (STP). This trial is taking place at 28 bathing waters across England and 3 in Wales (on behalf of Natural Resources Wales).  The aim is to keep the public safe and healthy on England’s beaches and the system being trialled will enable authorities to warn-the public that pollution is more likely to occur on certain days.


The trial will run until the end of September. The North West local authorities taking part are Barrow, Blackpool, Lancaster, Sefton, Wirral and Wyre and the 10 North West bathing waters included in the trial are: Ainsdale, Blackpool Central, Blackpool North, Blackpool South, Cleveleys, Fleetwood, Morecambe North , Morecambe South, Walney West Shore and West Kirby.


The revised Bathing Water Directive (rBWD), which comes into force in 2015, has provision for a prediction system to warn the public about short-term pollution.  Short-term pollution lasts less than 72 hours and occurs when heavy rainfall washes bacteria from agriculture, urban runoff or sewage into the sea via rivers and streams. 


When STP is predicted for a particular bathing water taking part in the trial the bathing water controller (usually the local authority) will -display a sign on the beach with appropriate warning information for the public. Warnings will also be posted on the Environment Agency’s Bathing Water Data Explorer to enable people to make more informed choices about where and when to bathe.

 If you have any questions about the trial or want to know more about short-term pollution see the EA website  or call the Environment Agency customer service line on 03708 506506.


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