£1m bathing water project launched at Scarborough and Bridlington

Yorkshire Water employees
Energy and environment


A new £1m project to carry out an in-depth investigation of the quality of bathing water at the south bays of Scarborough and Bridlington has begun.

Led by Professor David Kay, of the Centre for Research in Environment and Health (CREH), the intensive monitoring programme has been put in place by Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency, Scarborough Borough Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

The project will take half-hourly samples from both bays over a 12-hour period across 60 days of the 2020 bathing water season. The samples will then be analysed at CREH’s laboratory in Leeds and used to develop detailed models.

Over 200 datasets are being collected throughout the project, including on rainfall, tides, and the flow of streams into the sea.

The information will be used to feed into Environment Agency’s upgraded pollution risk forecasting, which every morning during the bathing water season predicts whether there will be any temporary water quality issues at bathing waters, including Scarborough and Bridlington south bays.

It is also hoped that the project could help pinpoint sources of bacteria impacting on bathing water quality.

Yorkshire Water’s Coastal Manager, Geraldine Sewell, said: “This intensive sampling and modelling project located at two of Yorkshire’s most well-known and popular beaches, Scarborough South and Bridlington South, shows our unwavering commitment to the region. We hope the £1 million investment will help the partnership to better understand and improve the bathing water quality at these two beaches.

“We know how important the Yorkshire coastline is to our customers and visitors and we want to ensure that we are playing our part by using the most innovative technology and techniques available to drive towards Good and Excellent bathing water quality.

“Following significant investment in recent years resulting in bathing water improvements, it’s great to be continuing to apply cutting edge marine science to further enhance our understanding of what impacts bathing water quality. Yorkshire Water is thrilled to be taking a lead on this alongside the Yorkshire Bathing Water Partnership.”

The Environment Agency has been working with CREH to provide flow and water quality data from Scalby Beck and the Gypsey Race.

It is also carrying out its own water quality monitoring of Gypsey Race in Bridlington and Scalby Beck, which both run directly into the sea, using devices called sondes.

Dr Martin Christmas, of the Environment Agency, said: “Everyone loves the English seaside – it’s a national institution – and we want to do all we can to make sure the water is as clean as possible.

“We know there are some issues with water quality at Scarborough and Bridlington south bays, so we want to try to ascertain why and when water quality is compromised to better protect bathers.

“This intensive monitoring project by the Centre for Research in Environment and Health at the south bays of Bridlington and Scarborough is going to be a pioneering study for these bathing waters and a very positive step forward.

“It will give us a much broader understanding of what impacts water quality, providing us with data that will help inform how we continue to work with our partners to improve water quality for bathers and wildlife.

“The Environment Agency has been working with CREH and Yorkshire Water to provide flow and water quality data from Scalby Beck and the Gypsey Race and our hydrology team will be providing flow data throughout the course of the project.”

If there are any bathing water quality issues predicted the information will be made available on the Environment Agency’s bathing water website.