BEACHES across Hampshire and West Sussex have maintained the highest rating by Environment Agency inspectors.
The quality of bathing water at Lee-on-the-Solent, Stokes Bay and across to West Wittering and Selsey have all kept their ‘excellent’ status following a 2016 analysis.
But Hill Head dropped from ‘excellent’ to ‘good’ in the rankings after water samples were taken.
It comes after Southsea beach jumped to ‘excellent’ and Eastney kept its top status.
According to the government, bathing water quality, tested at 413 beaches and lakes up and down the country, is the best on record and 98.5 per cent passed ‘tough standards’ this year.
Huge strides have been made to improve water quality, helping to make our beaches even more attractive for the increasing numbers of tourists who visit from around the world.
Just 28 per cent of bathing waters met the top water quality standards in the early 1990s; now 93.2 per cent are rated excellent and good.
The number of bathing waters rated ‘excellent’ has increased by 5.9 percentage points since 2015, and five bathing waters have met at least the minimum standards for the first time.
Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: ‘England’s bathing waters are enjoyed by millions of people every year, which is why I am delighted the water quality at our beaches and lakes is better than at any time since before the Industrial Revolution.’