Swimmers to benefit from higher water standards

Port Erin beach

Sea swimmers will be helped to make more informed decisions on where to take a dip from 1 May when a more stringent testing regime begins at designated bathing waters.

It comes after Tynwald approved the Water Pollution (Bathing Water Standards and Objectives) Scheme 2021 last week.

The scheme sets out a system for sampling water quality at the beaches designated since Tynwald adopted Europe’s highest water quality standards in December 2019.

It means four designated beaches in Port St Mary (Chapel Beach), Port Erin, Ramsey South and Douglas will have water tested weekly and classified as either sufficient, good or excellent, dependent on bacterial concentrations.

The results will be clearly displayed on beach side signs and on the Government’s website, and sampling will continue throughout the bathing season between 1 May and 18 September. The results will form a unique bathing water profile showing information on the catchment area, river discharges, Manx Utilities infrastructure and pollution investigations.

Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:

‘The higher standards bring us in line with neighbouring countries and protect public health while further enhancing the Island’s UNESCO Biosphere pledge. The designations empower bathers to make informed decisions and we are working with other local authorities to help them reach the standard.’

All local authorities were invited to apply for the designation and the Government is working with those that were initially unsuccessful. If a local authority still wishes to have their beach designated for subsequent bathing seasons they can contact the Environmental Protection Unit by emailing environmentalprotection@gov.im.

Sampling will also take place at the most popular non designated beaches on a monthly basis in case of future applications for designation from local authorities.