A number of beaches across the Portsmouth area are officially designated bathing spots.
The Environment Agency monitors the water quality of these sites between May 15 and September 30.
They will check for sources of pollution known to be a risk to bathers’ health, with up to 20 samples taken from each site during the bathing seasons. Each sample is tested for bacteria, specifically E.coli. and intestinal enterococci.
Bathing spots are rated on a scale of poor, sufficient, good and excellent.
The sampling program is set ahead of the start of season and follows a strict protocol to ensure samples are taken consistently both in terms of location and depth of water, and also covering a range of tidal states where safe to sample.
Bathing water designation takes into account any facilities that are provided to promote and support bathing (for example, lifeguarding, first aid facilities, public toilets, shops and cafes) because the presence of such facilities demonstrates the site is an established bathing area and is managed for bathing.
The long-term trend for bathing water quality in England remains upward and overall quality is high. In 2021 99 per cent of bathing waters achieved the minimum standard of Sufficient.
Of these, almost 95 per cent achieved the highest standards of Excellent or Good – the highest since new standards were introduced in 2015.
But how do the designated bathing spots in the Portsmouth area hold up?
Here is how the water quality is rated:
- Hillhead – rated good
- Southsea East – rated good
- Lee-on-the-Solent – rated excellent
- Stokes Bay – rated excellent
- Eastney – rated excellent
- Beachlands West (Hayling) – rated excellent
- Beachlands Central (Hayling) – rated excellent
- Eastoke (Hayling) – rated excellent
Environment Agency chair Emma Howard Boyd said: ‘Public confidence in bathing water quality is key to the tourism industry as well as people’s health and wellbeing.
‘We monitor sites and provide pollution risk forecasting at over 170 sites throughout the bathing water season so people understand the local situation.’