Bathing water quality at Scarborough North Bay, Runswick Bay and Reighton reduced from ‘excellent’ to ‘good’

Three beaches in Yorkshire – Scarborough North Bay, Runswick Bay, and Reighton – will see the rating of their bathing water quality reduced from ‘excellent’ to ‘good’ amid calls for more action to tackle pollution.
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Earlier this year, the North Bay received a coveted Blue Flag award from the Keep Britain Tidy charity signifying that a beach is “clean, safe and meets the highest environmental standards, as well as international bathing water quality standards”.

Scarborough’s South Bay retains its ‘poor’ classification as well as the Environment Agency’s advice against bathing at the beach.

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The updated 2023 ratings issued by the Environment Agency will be in place for next year’s season.

Runswick Bay.
Picture by Simon Hulme.Runswick Bay.
Picture by Simon Hulme.
Runswick Bay. Picture by Simon Hulme.

The Yorkshire Bathing Water Partnership said that drops in quality in Yorkshire were “disappointing” and “must be addressed”.

The partnership consists of the Environment Agency, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, North Yorkshire Council, and Yorkshire Water which aim to work in collaboration to improve bathing water quality.

The partnership said: “While there are a number of factors which have affected water quality across the country, including the high levels of rainfall seen in the last 12 months, we know that there is more to be done.

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“Extensive work is under way from all partners to understand what is causing drops in water quality.

A view of North Bay, Scarborough.
picture: Richard PonterA view of North Bay, Scarborough.
picture: Richard Ponter
A view of North Bay, Scarborough. picture: Richard Ponter

“This includes an increased programme of sampling throughout this year and investment in more research and technology to analyse water samples in order to understand the complex issues affecting these sites.”

At a meeting of the Scarborough and Whitby area constituency committee on Friday, December 1, Yorkshire Water highlighted its promised £2.8m investment in Scarborough to “reduce spills from the Wheatcroft storm overflow, which will be completed before the start of the 2025 bathing season”.

However, committee members said that more funding and action were needed to address the issue of bathing water quality, which councillors have also highlighted as posing a risk to the local economy and tourism at several meetings throughout the year.

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The Yorkshire Bathing Water Partnership added: “These investigations will continue into next year and we will work together as a matter of urgency to improve water quality and ensure all residents, businesses and visitors get the beach environment that they deserve.”