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In the latest 2020 ranking of coastal bathing hygiene, the UK ranked last in Europe. Why are the bathing areas of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland so poor? The British say that too few samples have been taken from bathing sites in the UK due to the coronavirus pandemic and do not agree with the findings of the latest research.

According to the European Environment Agency, the European Union’s environmental watchdog, the UK performed the worst among the EU countries in 2020 in terms of the number of bathing sites with excellent water quality (Switzerland and Albania were also included in the ranking). In the UK last year, only 110 (17%) of over 600 coastal and inland bathing sites were rated excellent, 32 (5%) good and 29 (4.5%) adequate. 12 UK swimming areas (1.9%) had poor water quality, which meant that the level of fecal bacteria detected in the water was too high to be considered safe.

However, the British do not broadly agree with the findings of the latest report from the European Environment Agency and say that due to the coronavirus pandemic in the UK, not enough samples have been taken for the study. Islanders say the vast majority of sites last year were unclassified — 457 to be exact, or 71.4% shower areas.

Where to swim in the UK?

When it comes to bathing areas that rank highest in the UK for water purity, the winners include, among others Caerfai Bay, Amroth, Morfa Bychan Beach, Joss Bay in Broadstairs and Herne Bay. In contrast, low water quality was found, among others, at Hunstanton Beach, Norfolk, South Bay Beach in Scarborough and Combe Martin, Devon.

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In the latest EU ranking of shower hygiene, Cyprus took first place, reaching 100%. The water was perfect. It is followed by Austria (97.7%), Greece (97.1%) and Malta (96.6%). Moreover, although still high, they are popular summer travel destinations such as Spain, Italy, and Portugal. In Spain, the number of bathing sites with very clean water was estimated at 88.5%. In Italy – 88.6 percent, and in Portugal – 89.2 percent.

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