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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Northern Ireland has seven new official bathing waters

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Brown’s Bay, County Antrim

Seven new official bathing water sites have been identified following a public review by DAERA. This means that sites will be monitored by the Department, and managed to meet stringent water quality standards.

They are:

  1. Brompton Bay, Bangor

  2. Cushendall  

  3. Donaghadee Harbour

  4. Drain’s Bay, near Larne

  5. Portmuck

  6. Rea's Wood, Antrim, Lough Neagh

  7. 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 and will be cooperating with councils acting as Bathing Water Operators in having the new sites identified in regulation.

The review incorporated a public consultation which saw 352 nominations for 101 proposed new 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. 

Northern Ireland has 26 identified bathing waters which must meet stringent water quality standards set under The Quality of Bathing Water Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008.

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


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