The 7 disgusting beaches you definitely shouldn’t swim in near London – My London



Nothing beats a swim in the sea to cool down on a hot summers day.

While we may not have our own shoreline here in London, we’re lucky to have some incredible beaches nearby.

With holidays abroad looking uncertain and staycations almost impossible to book, day trips to our most loved seaside towns are really what we are relying on.

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Some really superb weather is soon forecast to hit London and surrounding areas, perfect for a little dip.

But be warned – not all waters are safe.

Measuring the safety of the water

Water quality at designated bathing sites in England is assessed by the Environment Agency.

Annual ratings rank each site as excellent, good, sufficient or poor – based on measurements taken over a period of up to four years.

And from May to September, weekly assessments measure current water quality, while daily pollution risk forecasts are issued at a number of sites.

How can you be harmed?

“The Environment Agency makes a daily pollution risk forecast at sites based on the effects of rain, tide, wind, sunlight and seasonality on bathing water quality,” according to the website.

“These factors affect the levels of bacteria that get washed into the sea from livestock, sewage and urban drainage via rivers and streams and how they disperse.”

The bacteria they look out for are Intestinal Enterococci (IE) and Escherichia coli (EC).

Enterococci are found in human faeces and cause sickness and diarrhoea if concentrations are too high.

Some kinds of e.coli can cause diarrhoea, while others cause urinary tract infections, respiratory illnesses, pneumonia, and other health issues.

While it is worth being aware of this, try not to panic too much: the bacteria is often used as a marker to test water contamination, and may not necessarily cause illness just by swimming in the sea.

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The Environment Agency site continues: “When these factors combine to make short term pollution likely we issue a pollution risk warning on this website and the beach manager will display a sign advising against bathing at the bathing water.

“After a short term pollution event, levels of bacteria typically return to normal after a day or so but it’s possible to have several warning days in a row.”

So, using this information, we can see both weekly and daily changes to sites near the capital, and whether they are safe to swim in.

On Monday (July 27), we took a look at where the Environment Agency advised against swimming in the nearby waters.

Due to pollution levels, the following waters were not advised for a swim:

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1. Clacton

It is permanently advised that you do not bathe in the water at Clacton.

The site in Essex is no longer designated as bathing water under the Bathing Water Regulations 2013.

And this is because the water has been classified as “poor” for five years in a row.

The Environment Agency website said: “Permanent advice against bathing is in place at Clacton (Groyne 41).

“Clacton (Groyne 41) is no longer designated as a bathing water under the Bathing Water Regulations 2013 because water quality has been classified as Poor for five consecutive years and cannot be improved to meet the minimum standard of Sufficient required for all bathing waters.”

2. Hastings Pelham Beach

On Monday (July 27) a warning was in place for pollution levels at this Hastings resort.

The current water quality classification is “sufficient”, based on samples taken from 2016 through to 2019.

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3. St Leonards

A pollution warning was also in place at this other Hastings beach on Monday.

In 2019, 17 pollution risk warnings were issued for this bathing water.

But the current water quality classification is in fact “excellent” based on samples taken from 2016 through to 2019.

4. Bexhill

Bexhill is a resort beach situated between Eastbourne and Hastings.

Again, it was not advised to swim at Bexley on Monday due to a pollution warning.

In 2016 and 2017, this water was classified as “good”.

But the quality was downgraded to “sufficient” from 2018 onwards, and in 2019, 25 pollution risk warnings were issued here.

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5. Worthing

Visitors were warned not to swim at this West Sussex beach on Monday.

The waters here were “good” in 2016, but were classed as “sufficient” from 2017 onwards.

In 2019, 14 pollution risk warnings were issued for the water at Worthing.

6. Felpham

A warning was issued for this area of water in West Sussex on Monday, adjacent to the town of Felpham.

But the quality has been ranked as “good” since 2018.

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7. Southend Jubilee

A warning was in place at Jubilee on Monday – the beach between the famous pier and the Sea-Life Adventure Centre in Southend-on-Sea.

The current water quality classification is, however, “good”, based on samples taken from 2016 through to 2019.

Got a story? Get in touch on april.curtin@reachplc.com