About bathing waters

Busy ports, famous beaches, nature reserves and miles of unspoilt land, the North West coast - stretching from the Wirral peninsular in the south to Gretna in the north - is as diverse as it is long.

With the region boasting a population of around 7 million people and thousands of visitors flocking to the area every week, the coast is much loved, but also much used and serves dense urban areas as well as industry, ranging from oil refineries and petrol and chemical companies, to car production and nuclear power.

For recreational users, a number of the beaches in the North West are award-winning. Keep Britain Tidy awarded 2015 Seaside Awards to 14 of them, while the Marine Conservation Society included eight of the region's beaches in its 2015 Good Beach Guide, which lists safe, clean beaches in the UK.

The North West's coast is cleaner than it has ever been; in 1988, 23 out of the 29 designated bathing waters failed mandatory standards, but in 2014 all of the North West's beaches passed.

In 2015 the new tougher standards were introduced and 90% of North West beaches reached at least satisfactory standard. A number of different factors were to blame for the small number of failures, including rainwater running off agricultural land, dog owners not cleaning up after their pets and issues linked to our wastewater network. Taking the North West as a whole, the sewers are only about 30 per cent of the problem.

There is still much work to be done. We remain committed to playing our part in making sure your beaches are clean, safe and something to be proud of.

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