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.
From November 2015, bathing waters will be classed 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 is 'sufficient', which is higher than the old good (mandatory) standard. Our priority is to ensure all bathing waters meet this standard. In preparation, in 2014/15 we completed £20million of schemes to further improve bathing water quality at Lyme Regis, Teignmouth, Torbay, Mothecombe, Seaton (Cornwall), East Looe and Combe Martin. See www.southwestwater.co.uk/evencleanerseas for more information.
Find out more about the revised bathing water directive by opening the PDF files, right, or watching the video below.