MORE North-East bathing waters than ever before have been rated ‘excellent’ in the latest classifications announced today by Defra.

For the second year running, 33 of the region’s 34 designated bathing waters have achieved either ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ ratings, with the number achieving the highest categorisation rising from 24 to 25 – eight are ‘good.’

Only Cullercoats was given a ‘poor’ rating.

Compliance is based on the current and previous four years of sample data from 2016 to 2019, taken by the Environment Agency between May and September each year and assessing against strict regulations.

Northumbrian Water’s wastewater director, Richard Warneford, said: “We have seen 33 of our region’s 34 designated bathing waters rated ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ but we have also seen an improvement across the board.

“This is down to work by a wide range of partners, including the Environment Agency, local authorities and community interest groups, as well as more than two decades of investment by ourselves that has contributed to rising standards.

“Our work to enhance areas of our network, such as storm water storage facilities, and diverting surface water away from sewers through the introduction of sustainable drainage solutions, will have had played their part in delivering these results and a safer, more enjoyable, bathing environment. We will continue to work with all relevant partners to investigate how we can continue to improve all of our region’s bathing waters.”

A joint investigation between the Environment Agency, North Tyneside Council and Northumbrian Water, regarding the localised deterioration of bathing water quality at Cullercoats, continues.

Mr Warneford added: “The investigation continues to rule out potential factors that may be contributing to the reduction in quality of the bathing water at Cullercoats. The Environment Agency has continued testing outside of the normal bathing water season, and while the work is ongoing by North Tyneside Council, the Agency and ourselves, there is some optimism that improvements can be delivered. These joint investigations and work will continue until we are able to identify and remedy the cause or causes.”

North-East bathing waters rated ‘excellent’ are Bamburgh Castle, Seahouses North, Beadnell, Newbiggin North, Low Newton, Warkworth, Amble Links, Druridge Bay North, Druridge Bay South, Blyth South, Seaton Sluice, Whitley Bay, Tynemouth Longsands North, Tynemouth Longsands South, Tynemouth King Edwards Bay, Seaburn, Roker , Seaham, Crimdon, Seaton Carew Centre, Seaton Carew North Gare, Redcar Coatham, Redcar Lifeboat Station, Redcar Stray, and Saltburn.

Those that have achieved the ‘good’ standard are Spittal, Newbiggin South, South Shields, Marsden, Seaham Hall, Seaton Carew North, Redcar Granville and Marske Sands.