River Ribble at Edisford Bridge near Clitheroe set to be unveiled as bathing water site

A local paddling hot spot is set to be designated as a bathing water site ahead of the warmer months and benefit from regular water quality monitoring.
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The River Ribble at Edisford Bridge, near Clitheroe, has been identified by the Water Minister as part of the government’s plan to improve water quality across the country.

Subject to a two-week consultation, the site will benefit from regular water monitoring from the 2024 bathing water season, which runs between May 15th and September 30th. These new bathing waters are three of 27 new swimming spots expected to be designated across England.

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If designated, sites will receive regular water monitoring from the Environment Agency, who will investigate pollution sources and identify steps to be taken in response, which could include actions by water companies, farmers and others.

Edisford Bridge and the River Ribble in Clitheroe, Lancashire. Photo: Kelvin Lister-StuttardEdisford Bridge and the River Ribble in Clitheroe, Lancashire. Photo: Kelvin Lister-Stuttard
Edisford Bridge and the River Ribble in Clitheroe, Lancashire. Photo: Kelvin Lister-Stuttard

All residents, bathers, businesses, and organisations are invited to have their say before the consultation closes on 10th March 2024.

Water Minister Robbie Moore said: “Many people enjoy spending time in our rivers, lakes, and coastal beaches, and I am thrilled to see five new bathing water sites proceeding to consultation in Cumbria and Lancashire alone.

“I want to continue to improve the quality of our bathing waters, which is why we are taking action across the board to drive up standards and hold water companies to account.

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“I encourage all local communities and organisations with an interest to take part in this consultation and have their say.”

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Last year, 96% of bathing waters in England met minimum standards and 90% of bathing waters in England were rated as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, up from 76% in 2010, despite the classification standards becoming stricter in 2015. The government also updated its guidance last year to make the application process clearer and easier to follow.

This will build on recent improvements the government has delivered to the water environment, including:

Announcing a ban on bonuses for water company executives whose firms have committed serious criminal breaches – subject to Ofwat consultation.

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Quadrupling the Environment Agency’s regulatory capacity – allowing them to carry out 4,000 water company inspections by the end of the next financial year.

Requiring companies to monitor 100% of storm overflows in England - providing a complete picture of when and where sewage spills happen.

Removing the cap on civil penalties for water companies and broadening their scope so swifter action can be taken against those who pollute our waterways.

Requiring the largest infrastructure programme in water company history - £60 billion over 25 years – to revamp aging assets and reduce the number of sewage spills by hundreds of thousands every year.

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Increasing protections for coastal and estuarine waters by expanding the Storm Overflow Discharge Reduction Plan, prioritising bathing waters, sites of special scientific interest and shellfish waters.

Providing £10 million in support for farmers to store more water on their land through the Water Management Grants to support food production and improve water security.

Speeding up the process of building key water supply infrastructure, including more reservoirs and water transfer schemes.