Two popular parts of the Worthing coastline could be designated as beach bathing areas
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After collecting data throughout the summer along with its team of citizen scientists, Worthing Borough Council has this week submitted applications to designate two popular sections of shoreline as bathing areas.
The areas in question are the stretch of shore opposite Beach House Grounds and Sea Lane, Goring, which the council hopes to designate as official bathing waters as part of its commitment to deliver cleaner and healthier waters for its residents and visitors.
Designation could help the town achieve the highest bathing water classification by requiring the Environment Agency to test the seawater for bacteria during the bathing season (May to September) – a move which would help identify sources of pollution and hold those responsible to account.
The council and its team of volunteers were left frustrated in the summer after Defra made a number of key changes to the application criteria seven weeks into the bathing season.
But thanks to a late spell of hot weather, the council was able to gather all the data it required to complete its applications. This includes evidence of at least 100 bathers using the water on two separate days, photographs and consultation feedback from residents.
The council would like to thank the volunteers who have each invested hours over the summer to help contribute to both bathing water applications.
Cllr Vicki Wells, Worthing’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “Firstly, I’d like to say a huge thank you to the resident volunteers who all stepped up to help our local environment. They were a familiar sight on our beaches over the bathing season and recorded more than 88 hours of bathing surveys for two compelling applications. The inexplicable change of criteria by Defra meant an additional 44 hours of surveys were rendered useless, which was hugely frustrating.
“The addition of two new bathing water designations is key to improving the standard of our coastal waters. We want our coastline to be a place where our communities and nature can thrive. Extra water quality monitoring is an essential step in the right direction.
“I look forward to receiving Defra’s final review of our applications ahead of next summer’s bathing season.”
The council has completed its applications with significant detail in the hope of avoiding last year’s disappointment when its designation application for the section of shore opposite Beach House Grounds was rejected.
After seeking clarification, the council was eventually informed that the bather numbers recorded at that site were insufficient despite Defra having not specified a threshold for a successful application at that time.
The council will learn whether its applications for this year have been successful before May 2024.