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The Good Beach Guide is compiled by the Marine Conservation Society, the UK charity that cares for our seas, shores and wildlife.

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Clean seas matter

This year MCS has recommended 538 out of 734 UK beaches tested during last summer as having excellent water quality – that’s 135 more than the previous year. One of the UK’s driest summers in recent memory has led to fewer failures, with just fourteen beaches tested last summer failing to reach minimum water quality standards.

Bathing water pollution can originate from a variety of sources such as agricultural and urban run-off, storm waters, misconnected plumbing, septic tanks and dog faeces and can increase the chance of water users going home with an ear, nose or throat infection, or even gastroenteritis.

There is no simple solution to this type of pollution – but if we all work together we can improve water quality at our beaches whatever the weather.

By choosing ‘MCS Recommended’ beaches you are helping us to keep up the pressure on water companies, local councils and environment agencies to tackle sources of pollution. Register to receive regular pollution e-news updates and ask your friends and family to use the Good Beach Guide and sign-up as well.

YOU can help improve coastal water quality with these few simple steps;

Act responsibly – Don’t put fats and oils down the sink or flush rubbish (such as cotton bud sticks, wet wipes etc) down the loo – this can block the sewers and cause sewer overflow pipes to discharge untreated sewage and bathroom rubbish into our rivers and seas.
Check your plumbing – Go to to make sure your home plumbing is correctly connected and isn’t polluting the environment.
Clean up – don’t leave your rubbish on the beach and always clean up after your dog.
Use water wisely – the less water we use the less water there is to treat! By reducing the amount of water in our sewers we can all help to reduce sewage spills.
Report pollution – If you spot a pollution incident you should contact the local council and the relevant environment agency’s Pollution Hotline; it’s the same free number whether you’re in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – 0800 807060.


Find out how to take part in one of our other key campaigns or volunteering activities.


Beachwatch - Join a beachclean Seachampions Report your wildlife sightings

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