THE Government has launched a record number of wild swimming spots as bathing sites in England for summer, including one in North Yorkshire.

The Environment Agency will immediately start monitoring the water quality at 27 sites which the Government had proposed as new bathing sites during a consultation earlier this year.

It brings the total number of sites for the 2024 water bathing season, which runs between May 15 and September 30, to 451 across England. Knaresborough's River Nidd, at the Lido Leisure Park, is one of them.

The Environment Department (Defra) said the Government will also launch a consultation later this year on proposals to reform bathing water regulations in England.

York Press: The public will now be able to swim at the River Nidd, near the Lido Leisure ParkThe public will now be able to swim at the River Nidd, near the Lido Leisure Park (Image: PA)

This includes proposed change to drive improvements to water quality at bathing spots, enhance monitoring and enable more flexibility around the dates of the monitoring season.

Defra said it will seek public and stakeholder views on extending the definition of “bathers” to include a wider range of water users beyond swimmers – such as rowers, kayakers and paddle boarders.

Defra said that last year 96% of bathing waters in England met minimum annual standards and 90% were rated as “good” or “excellent”.

But there has been growing public anger over the state of England’s rivers and coastal waters, which suffer pollution from sewage outlets and other sources such as agricultural run-off.

These water sites are regularly monitored by the Environment Agency, which assesses whether action is needed to cut pollution levels and works with local communities, farmers and water companies to improve water quality.


Making the announcement on what was described as the largest ever rollout of new bathing sites, water minister Robbie Moore said: "The value our bathing waters bring to local communities is incredibly valuable – providing social, physical and positive health and wellbeing benefits to people around the country – and I am pleased to have approved a further 27 new bathing water sites for this year.

"I am fully committed to seeing the quality of our coastal waters, rivers and lakes rise further for the benefit of the environment and everyone who uses them."

Alan Lovell, Environment Agency chairman, added: "Overall bathing water quality has improved massively over the last decade due to targeted and robust regulation from the Environment Agency, and the good work carried out by partners and local groups.

"We know that improvements can take time and investment from the water industry, farmers and local communities, but where the investment is made, standards can improve."