Bathing water in the UK is protected by EU Directive 76/160/EEC,which will be replaced by Directive 2006/7/EC in 2015. We are currently in a transitional stage between the two Directives. The new Directive sets tighter standards for bathing water quality.
Each year the Environment Agency assesses what the classifications would have been, if the new standards were already in force, using data from the previous four years. These results do not take into account the actions being taken between now and 2015 to improve water quality.