The European Union's revised Bathing Water Directive (2006/7/EC) came into force in March 2006 and replaces the current Bathing Water Directive (76/1160/EEC).
The overall objective of the revised directive is the protection of public health, but it also offers an opportunity to improve management practices at bathing waters and to standardise the information offered to bathers across Europe.
The directive introduces a new classification system with more stringent water quality standards and puts an emphasis on providing information to the public.
The new directive will classify bathing waters as either excellent, good, sufficient or poor. The water quality standards for the new classifications are much higher than those of the original bathing waters directive.
The Government's target under the new directive will be 'sufficient', which is higher than the current good (mandatory) standard. Our priority will then be to ensure all bathing waters meet this standard. In preparation, we have already invested £1.7 million in partnership with the Environment Agency to investigate the different factors that can impact on bathing water quality.
Find out more about the revised bathing water directive by opening the PDF files, right, or watching the video below.