Southern Water achieve highest ever ratings for beach bathing water quality across Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Hythe, Swale and Thanet

Bathing waters off beaches across Kent have achieved their highest ever ratings in Defra’s Bathing Water summer sampling regime.

In Kent, 20 beaches have been rated 'Excellent' in 2021 gaining two new beauty spots since 2019.

Joss Bay, Broadstairs has improved to an 'Excellent' rating for water quality. Picture: Chris Davey
Joss Bay, Broadstairs has improved to an 'Excellent' rating for water quality. Picture: Chris Davey

Three beaches in Thanet have also improved their water quality since 2019 with Botany Bay, Joss Bay and Walpole Bay improving from a 'Good' rating to 'Excellent'.

Canterbury and Folkestone and Hythe's sites have seen no change in the past two years maintaining 'Good' and 'Excellent' water quality.

Yet it is not all good news for the county's beaches as Viking Bay in Thanet has fallen to a 'Sufficent' rating from 'Good'.

Deal Castle has also taken a hit moving from 'Excellent' to 'Good'.

Barry Woodham, Southern Water’s bathing water manager said: "The trend of improvement has continued again in 2021 thanks to the collaborative approach taken between councils, regulators, charities and Southern Water.

"30 years ago only 41 per cent of beaches in the region met the ‘Sufficient’ standard."

Viking Bay has fallen down the ranks in the latest survey
Viking Bay has fallen down the ranks in the latest survey

Mr Woodham added that there "are a diverse range of pollutions which can impact water quality" including "contaminated rainwater running off roads and agricultural land, wastewater from privately owned treatment works, boats and animals on the beach such as dogs and seabirds."

To help improve the quality they have joined forces with the Environment Agency to celebrate the coastline and encourage people to play their part in keeping beaches beautiful as part of their Beauty of the Beach campaign.

Across the south east, swimmers can now enjoy 'Excellent' water quality at 59 out of 83 beaches compared with 58 last year.

Southern Water has hit the headlines in recent months after waste water was dumped in to the sea, leading to some refusing to pay their bill.

In July, they were hit with a record £90 million fine for the sewage leak.

Twenty one are rated ‘Good’, 3 ‘Sufficient’ and - for the fourth year running - none are ‘Poor.’

Southern Water plans to invest £2 billion over the next five years to improve the health of rivers and seas and has given a commitment to cut 80% of pollution incidents by 2025 and 80% of storm overflows by 2030.

The company have previously invested more than £32 million on improving bathing waters in the past five years including major programmes in Worthing, Sussex and Shanklin, Isle of Wight.

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