Designating area of sea near Beach House Park as bathing water
Worthing Borough Council is making strides towards its goal of improving the water quality along the full length of the town’s coastline.
By the end of the month, the Council will ask the Government to designate the area of sea near Beach House Park as bathing water.
A formal designation as bathing water is nationally recognised, and means that the Environment Agency will monitor water quality in that area – testing for e.coli and other bacteria that are indicators of human waste in the sea. This puts additional pressure on Southern Water to prevent pollution entering the sea and to be more accountable for sea cleanliness.
Application made thanks to resident contributions
The Council’s aim is to have these formally-recognised testing areas at the beginning, middle and end of the borough’s coastline, so that a clear and complete picture of water quality all along Worthing’s shore can be developed.
Thanks to the contributions of residents who filled out the Council’s online consultation, officers can now apply to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for the bathing water designation. The consultation results, along with beach surveys compiled by volunteers, will allow the Council to demonstrate to Defra that the water is frequently used for bathing.
A decision is expected by next Spring. If successful, the part of the sea near Beach House Park will become Worthing’s second area of designated bathing water.
The application for Beach House Park will also lay the foundations for another bathing consultation next summer at Sea Lane, Goring, with a view to making an application for bathing water status there by Autumn 2023. If successful, this area would provide the third water testing site and see the Council realise its goal of having protected testing areas from end to end along the coast.
“This application will set the course for the future”
Cllr Vicki Wells, Worthing’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “I want to thank every single resident that took part in our online bathing water consultation, as well as the citizen scientist volunteers who collected over 20 hours of observations for this application. It’s thanks to these residents that we can now apply for bathing water designation to the east of Worthing at Beach House.
“This application is a crucial part of the Council’s ongoing mission to ensure that everyone in Worthing can safely enjoy our sea and beaches. In order to establish safety, we need to be testing water along our coastline frequently and thoroughly. A formal designation of bathing water status enables the Environment Agency to do this.
“Far from being the end goal, this application will set the course for the future and pave the way for a repeat application to the west of Worthing at Goring. A successful application in Goring would mean that we had three sites across Worthing’s coast where the Environment Agency can test water for pollution, allowing us to build a complete picture of water quality right across our shoreline.”