Bathing Water Designation to Ensure Ribble Valley River is ‘Safe to Splash’

Ribble Valley residents are one step closer to the designation of their very own Bathing Water site thanks to the Ribble Rivers Trust’s Safe to Splash campaign.

In an announcement this week the Government shared plans to designate the largest ever number of new bathing water sites. In total there are 27 new sites that could potentially receive the designation, subject to a two-week government consultation. The Ribble at Edisford Bridge is one of them.

If successful, the sites will receive regular water monitoring from the Environment Agency during the bathing water season. Additionally, the Environment Agency will also investigate pollution, identifying pollution sources and taking action to resolve the issues. As part of this, the Government has also promised to quadruple the Environment Agency’s regulatory capacity. Therefore giving them the people power they need to patrol our rivers and carry out the inspections.

What does Bathing Water Status mean for the Ribble?

Throughout the summer, Ribble Rivers Trust worked to collect the data and evidence required for the Bathing Water application. The application requires information including survey data, photographic evidence, and the backing of local businesses.

The Ribble at Edisford Bridge, the site of the new Bathing Water area.

Jack Spees, CEO of Ribble Rivers Trust says:

“Edisford Bridge is a well-known and well-loved local greenspace that is enjoyed by thousands of paddlers and swimmers each year.

Like many areas of the Ribble Catchment, there is room for improvements to our water quality. This designation will ensure that water quality is regularly monitored and ensure that polluters are obligated to reduce pollution upstream of Edisford Bridge. Consequently, this will also improve water quality at many other swimming spots, including the River Ribble at Brungerley Park.”

Last year, 96% of bathing waters in England met minimum standards and 90% of bathing waters in England were rated as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, up from 76% in 2010. During the summer months Ribble Rivers Trust funded their own water samples, testing five strategic sites on the River Ribble upsteam and downstream, of Edisford Bridge. These results showed that water quality currently meets the minimum standard for bathing throughout most of the summer.

All residents, bathers, businesses, and organisations can have their say before the consultation closes on 10 March. This is the final, but vital step in the process.

Water Minister Robbie Moore said:

“Many people enjoy spending time in our rivers, lakes, and coastal beaches, and I am very aware of the value they bring in terms of social, health and wellbeing benefits.    

I want to continue to improve the quality of our bathing waters, which is why we are taking action across the board to drive up standards and hold water companies to account. 

I encourage all local communities and organisations with an interest to take part in this consultation and have their say.”

Bathers flock to the Ribble at Edisford Bridge, the site of the new Bathing Water area.

To complete the consultation survey visit: The survey is made up of just 19 simple questions, several of which are optional, so it should take just a few minutes.

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