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Bathing Water Status


Shrewsbury Town has set up a Clean Rivers Working Group to investigate issues around water cleanliness and support an application by local swimmers to designate part of the River Severn as Bathing Water, in response to increasing local concerns about river cleanliness.

The Council is carrying out a public consultation to explore the views of all stakeholders - local residents, community and sports groups, visitors and businesses – who are asked to give their views on what the river means to them and how they use it. The Town Council and its partners need as many people as possible to get involved in this consultation and to give their comments on the River Severn, what it means to local people and visitors, and how they use it.

You can take part in the survey here:

What does Designated Bathing Water status mean?

A site that has Designated Bathing Water Status is a location where a large number of people swim, regardless of the existing water quality condition.
The allocation of a Bathing Water site means that bacteria levels at the site must be at least ‘sufficient’ status during the summer months (May to September). However, it is not always an indicator that it is safe from pollution hazards.

Bathing Water sites are sites that are monitored in order to understand the water quality and pollution hazards. Bathing water sites are reviewed annually, and if an improvement is not made within five years, the site will be de-designated.

Once a site has been designated as a Bathing Water site, the Environment Agency will sample the water once a week, testing for two sources of bacteria; intestinal Enterococci and Escherichia Coli (E.Coli). Results from this sampling are uploaded approximately five days after testing.

At the end of a bathing season, which runs from May - September, the site is given an overall classification from ‘Excellent’, ‘Good’, ‘Sufficient’, or ‘Poor’ based against the Environment Agency’s River Bathing standards. The landowner, the Council, must then display signage displaying the water quality standard.

When necessary, the Environment Agency will put in place a programme to bring the water quality up to an ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ standard, and the Council will inform the public on current water quality classifications, so that they can make an informed decision on whether to enter the water.

Our Application for Bathing Water Designation

To apply for Bathing Water Designation we must do the following:
• Undertake a survey on 2 separate days which shows there are at least 100 bathers a day during the bathing season.
• Send details of facilities in the area including parking, public transport, disabled access, changing and toilet facilities, lifesaving and first aid facilities, litter bins and cafes & shops
• Send photos and maps of the areas for designation
• Have both the landowner support and the Local Authority support for the application
• Have undertaken a 6 week consultation with the public, users and stakeholders


Shrewsbury Town Council Clean River Working Group

Shrewsbury Town has set up a Clean Rivers Working Group.

The Terms of Reference and minutes of the Working Group are shown below:

Terms of Reference

(i) 23.06.21 - Clean Rivers Working Group - Minutes

(ii) 23.07.20 - Clean Rivers Working Group - Minutes

Useful Links

The Government has issued Guidance on applying for Bathing Water Status: Designate a bathing water: guidance on how to apply - GOV.UK (

Ilkley Clean River Group -

Surfers Against Sewage -

The Rivers Trust Sewage Map -

Shrewsbury Town Council public meeting held on 27 February 2023 (minutes, agenda & presentation)           STC Presentation


Bathing Water Gallery