Seven new official bathing water sites will be formally identified following a review led by DAERA. This means that sites will be monitored by the Department, and managed to meet stringent water quality standards.
The new sites are:
- Brompton Bay, Bangor
- Donaghadee Harbour
- Drain’s Bay, near Larne
- Rea's Wood, Antrim, Lough Neagh
- Warrenpoint, Sandy Bottom
The Bathing Water Review 2022/23 also received calls (98% of respondents) for the bathing season, which currently runs from 01 June until 15 September, to be extended.
DAERA will now explore with stakeholders the implications of such an extension.
The review incorporated a public consultation which saw over 300 nominations for approximately 100 bathing water sites, including inland water sites.
For the Department to proceed with the identification of a site, it must be assured that:
- bathing is not prohibited or inadvisable for safety reasons;
- bathing is traditionally practised by large numbers of bathers (the Department has criteria around this), and
- there is an appropriate body willing to take on the formal responsibility of Bathing Water Operator.
All of the new sites are being monitored this season, with the water quality being displayed and updated on a weekly basis on the NI Direct website.
Notes to editors:
- Northern Ireland has an existing 26 identified bathing waters which must meet stringent water quality standards set under The Quality of Bathing Water Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008. These are at Ballycastle, Ballygally, Ballyholme, Ballyhornan, Ballywalter, Benone (Magilligan), Brown’s Bay, Carnlough, Castlerock, Cloughey, Cranfield (Cranfield Bay), Crawfordsburn, Downhill, Groomsport, Helen’s Bay, Kilclief, Millisle, Murlough Bay, Newcastle, Portballintrae (Salmon Rock), Portrush (Curran Strand), Portrush (Mill Strand), Portstewart, Tyrella, Waterfoot, Whiterocks
- DAERA officials completed the Bathing Waters Review in March 2023. 172 responses were received to the Bathing Waters Review consultation which ran from 8 February 2022 to 8 April 2022.
- A process of consultation with councils was undertaken in parallel, and sites were nominated by councils where they are prepared to undertake the responsibilities of Bathing Water Operator. Download the report.
- The 20 most popular nominated sites were formally assessed against the criteria above. The 13 that did not meet the criteria are Fisherman's Quay Carrickfergus, Skippingstone Beach – Bangor, Portavoe beach near Orlock, Jordanstown Loughshore Park, Castlewellan Lake, Camlough Lake, Rostrevor, Muckross, Killyfoal Lough near Donagh, Knockninny - Upper Lough Erne (near Derrylin), Lough Melvin – Garrison, Mill Lough – Bellanaleck, Gortin Lake (near Gortin Forest).
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