It’s great news for English beach lovers as the country’s bathing waters are cleaner than ever, DEFRA statistics revealed today. Words: Katie Avis-Riordan

Thanks to huge improvements made over the past two decades, bathing water quality, tested at 413 beaches and lakes up and down the country, is the best on record with 98.5 per cent passing tough standards this year. Only 28 per cent of bathing waters met the top water quality standards in the early 1990s. Now, 93.2 per cent are rated excellent or good.

This means our stunning beaches are now even more attractive to visitors from home and abroad. The seaside economy is worth more than £3.6 billion annually with 146 million people descending on Britain’s beaches every year to appreciate the beautiful natural landscape and world-class facilities.

Staycations are also increasing in popularity, with almost 14 million people in England choosing to holiday at a beach here in 2015, a figure up 7 per cent on the previous year.

‘I am delighted the water quality at our beaches and lakes is better than at any time since before the Industrial Revolution,’ Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom says. ‘We’ll keep working to improve our environment and make sure it’s protected for future generations.’

So, even though temperatures may be a little brisk at this time of year, why not go out and enjoy swimming in those lovely, clean waters!

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A list of all bathing waters, their classification and a map showing their location can be found here.