Worthing submits applications to protect its coastline

Released: Tuesday, 31 October 2023

Two applications seeking improved protection for Worthing’s coastal waters have been submitted to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

After collecting data throughout the summer along with its team of citizen scientists, Worthing Borough Council has this week submitted applications to designate two popular sections of shoreline as bathing areas.

The areas in question are the stretch of shore opposite Beach House Grounds and Sea Lane, Goring, which we hope to designate as official bathing waters as part of our commitment to deliver cleaner and healthier waters for our residents and visitors.

Designation could help the town achieve the highest bathing water classification by requiring the Environment Agency to test the seawater for bacteria during the bathing season (May to September) - a move which would help identify sources of pollution and hold those responsible to account.

Along with our team of volunteers, we were left frustrated in the summer after Defra made a number of key changes to the application criteria seven weeks into the bathing season.

But thanks to a late spell of hot weather, we were able to gather all the data required to complete our applications. This includes evidence of at least 100 bathers using the water on two separate days, photographs and consultation feedback from residents.

Photo: The stretch of shore in Goring (top photo) and the stretch of shore opposite Beach House Grounds (bottom photo)

PR23-151 - Bathing water zones

We would like to thank the volunteers who have each invested hours over the summer to help contribute to both bathing water applications.

Cllr Vicki Wells, Worthing’s cabinet member for the environment, said:

“Firstly, I’d like to say a huge thank you to the resident volunteers who all stepped up to help our local environment. They were a familiar sight on our beaches over the bathing season and recorded more than 88 hours of bathing surveys for two compelling applications. The inexplicable change of criteria by Defra meant an additional 44 hours of surveys were rendered useless, which was hugely frustrating.

“The addition of two new bathing water designations is key to improving the standard of our coastal waters. We want our coastline to be a place where our communities and nature can thrive. Extra water quality monitoring is an essential step in the right direction.

“I look forward to receiving Defra’s final review of our applications ahead of next summer’s bathing season.”

We have completed our applications with significant detail in the hope of avoiding last year’s disappointment when our designation application for the section of shore opposite Beach House Grounds was rejected.

After seeking clarification, we were eventually informed that the bather numbers recorded at that site were insufficient - despite Defra having not specified a threshold for a successful application at that time.

We will learn whether our applications for this year have been successful before May 2024.

Photo: Worthing beach at low tide

Worthing Beach and the pier at low tide

(PR23-151)

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Page last updated: 20 February 2024

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