Water quality testing is halted throughout England during the Coronavirus crisis, just as the warm weather is causing Britons to flock to beaches and lakes
- The Environment Agency said it was no longer able to carry out checks on UK waters
- But it will still monitor pollution in the waters where incidents have occurred
- Last year, as many as 98 percent of British coastal waters and lakes were identified as safe
- Here’s how you can help people affected by Covid-19
The water quality tests on coastal waters and lakes in England have been stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Environment Agency said it could no longer carry out the checks due to social distance measures as thousands flock to the beaches to sunbathe in warm weather.
The change means that the waters around polluted areas near Clacton in Essex, Scarborough in North Yorkshire and Tynemouth near Newcastle are no longer monitored.
The Environment Agency announced the change as thousands migrate to UK beaches and rivers due to a relaxation of some coronavirus restrictions
Women are depicted today bathing in Bournemouth beach while taking advantage of the warm weather
In an advisory opinion released on May 15, the EA said it had “temporarily interrupted non-essential work, including sampling … of bathing water.”
“(This will) help slow the spread of the coronavirus and maintain the ability to provide essential services,” she added.
The move is because the covers continue to pull over indoor and outdoor pools, forcing aquatic British people into the sea and lakes.
Sampling is used to test for bacteria, including E. coli, that can cause pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and diarrhea.
The EA has to carry out health and safety checks under EU law and usually collects data from May to September.
EA is required to perform the tests under EU law. Pictured is the Fistral Beach in Newquay, Cornwall, on May 13
Where can I not swim in England?
The Environment Agency does not recommend bathing in:
- St. Bees, near Whitehaven
- Oatigg, Cumbria
- Burnham Jetty North and Weston-super-Mare, Somerset
- Combe Martn, Ilfracombe Wildersmouth and Instow, near Exmoor National Park
- Clacton Groyne 41, Essex
- Scarborough South Bay, North Yorkshire
- Tynemouth Cullercoats, near Newcastle
Nearly all 98.3 percent of UK waters exceeded the minimum standard for bathing in England last year.
Of these, 71 percent were classified as ‘excellent’ and received the highest water quality.
The EA currently has warnings on 11 beaches that discourage Brits from swimming due to pollution levels.
Despite the measures, the organization said it would still conduct tests where critical incidents have occurred.
It told the New scientist: “All essential incident monitoring will continue without hesitation, but we have rightly temporarily interrupted all non-essential monitoring.”
Thousands went to UK beaches on weekends as the restrictions on locking were eased.
Day trippers took advantage of the high temperatures to enjoy the weekend in Durdle Door, Dorset, Ilkley Moor, near Bradford and the Lake District, among others.
According to the updated government opinion, people can drive out ‘whatever the distance’ and the limit for the time British can spend outside has been lifted.