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North West's beaches including Formby are the cleanest in 30 years

Whether you paddle, swim or just take a stroll on one of the region’s many beaches, your mind can be at rest when it comes to the quality of the seawater it is better than at any time in the last 30 years.

For the first time ever, all 27 of the North West’s coastal bathing beaches, meet the government’s required standards for the quality of the water, with 8 meeting the even tougher standards needed for a Blue Flag. An additional 4 inland swimming spots at Windermere also met the Blue Flag water quality standards.

The water at our beaches has and is still improving since 1988 when just 18% met the previous standards.

Since this time, a huge range of organisations have worked to reduce the pollution and to look after our rivers, lakes and the sea, including the Environment Agency, United Utilities, local authorities, farmers, environmental organisations and local communities and businesses.

In 2012, these partners came together to form the Turning Tides Partnership, to ensure effective co-ordination of all improvement works and developing a brand new campaign ‘LOVE my BEACH’ to engage businesses and the public with their local beaches.

Neil Jack, Chair of The Turning tides Partnership and Chief Executive of Blackpool Council said:

"The improvements are a team effort across the whole region so it’s good to see how much cleaner the water is at our beaches. In Blackpool we’re immensely proud that all our bathing waters have passed and people can swim and paddle in the knowledge that the water meets these incredibly strict standards. To have the opportunity to retain the Blue Flag in Blackpool is really exciting."

"We’d like to thank everyone who has contributed towards making our seas cleaner from the National Farmers Union and Catchment Sensitive Farming project, to all the volunteers involved in beach cleans as part of the LOVE my BEACH work, United Utilities’ investment in upgrading treatment works and building extra storm water storage, to every dog owner who bags and bins their dog’s mess to stop it getting in the sea."

"For us to maintain and improve our bathing water quality, we ask everyone who lives, works and visits the North West to please do your bit to help us have even cleaner seas. There’s lots of information about what we’re doing and how you can get involved at"

Keith Ashcroft Environment Agency Deputy Director Cumbria and Lancashire said:

"We should be very proud of the continued improvement in the cleanliness of our North West bathing waters."

"The improvements come as a result of major investment in how our waste water is managed and the efforts of our Turning Tides partners. We will continue to work to ensure bathing waters are maintained and improved further."

  • Formby Excellent

  • Merseyside / Wirral:

  • West Kirby Excellent

  • Meols Excellent

  • Moreton Excellent

  • Wallasey Excellent

  • Ainsdale Good

  • Southport [SC] Good

  • Lancashire:

  • St Annes [SC] Good

  • St Annes North [SC] Good

  • Blackpool South [SC] Excellent

  • Blackpool Central Good

  • Blackpool North [SC] Sufficient

  • Bispham Good

  • Cleveleys Good

  • Fleetwood [SC] Good

  • Morecambe South Good

  • Morecambe North Good

  • Cumbria:

  • Walney Biggar Bank [SC] Sufficient

  • Walney Sandy Gap [SC] Sufficient

  • Walney West Shore [SC] Sufficient

  • Haverigg [SC] Sufficient

  • Silecroft Excellent

  • Seascale Good

  • Windermere, Lakeside YMCA Excellent

  • Windermere, Millerground Landing Excellent

  • Windermere, Fellfoot Excellent

  • Windermere, Rayrigg Meadow Excellent

  • St Bees Excellent

  • Allonby South Sufficient

  • Allonby Sufficient

  • Silloth Sufficient

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