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Revealed: these are the most polluted beaches in the UK

One spot has even been issued with a year-long ‘do not swim’ warning

Amy Houghton
Written by
Amy Houghton

T-shirt weather is almost upon us. Soon, thousands of Brits will be slapping on the suncream and heading out to sunbathe on our shores. But if you’re someone who normally also enjoys a swim, you might want to think again.

A new interactive map made by The Daily Mirror has revealed the spots you should avoid taking a dip due to high levels of pollution. On the map, swimmers can type in their postcode to discover whether their local coastline is safe, whether pollution levels are concerning, if swimming is dangerous and whether an area has lost its swimming zone status from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. 

St Mary’s Bay in Kent tops the list. Back in February the beach was slapped with a year-long ‘do not swim’ warning due to a huge spike in faecal matter discovered in the water. Gross. 

Some companies have recently faced hefty fines for dumping raw sewage into Britain’s waterways. In January, water firm Anglian Water had to cough up £510,000 for discarding 23 hours worth of untreated water into a river, killing around 5,000 fish. 

But that barely scratches the surface of the problem. According to The Guardian, water companies pumped waste into British waterways more than 372,000 times last year. Even Blue Flag Beaches, recognised for being the cleanest and safest in the UK, haven’t been able to avoid the relentless sewage dumping.

Here is the full list of the UK’s most polluted beaches, where swimming is not advised:

  1. St Mary’s Bay, Kent
  2. Bognor Regis, West Sussex
  3. Lyme Regis Church Cliff Beach, Dorset
  4. Watcombe, Devon
  5. Dunster Beach, Devon
  6. Instow, Cornwall
  7. Rock beach, Cornwall
  8. Ilfracombe, Devon
  9. Burnham Jetty North, Somerset
  10. Weston-super-Mare Sand Bay, Somerset
  11. Weston Main, Somerset
  12. Wolvercote Mill Stream, Oxfordshire
  13. Blackpool North, Lancashire
  14. Wharfe at Cromwheel, Yorkshire
  15. Tunstall, Yorkshire
  16. Scarborough South Bay, Yorkshire
  17. Bridlington South Beach, Yorkshire
  18. Tynemouth Cullercoats, Tyneside
  19. Heacham, Norfolk
  20. Allonby South, Cumbria
  21. Silloth, Cumbria
  22. Clacton, Essex

ICYMI: Is it time we stopped going wild swimming?

Plus: You could own this entire Scottish island for just £150,000.

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