Get us in your inbox

Sewage discharges
Photograph: Shutterstock

This frightening interactive map shows the most polluted beaches in the UK

Beachgoers have been urged to avoid swimming in some areas due to excess sewage

Written by
Ellie Muir

Usually, beachgoers and holidaymakers in the UK need not think twice about splashing around in the sea. Today, however, visitors to more than 50 British beaches have been warned not to enter the water due to the risk posed by sewage.

Heavy rain has led to water companies pumping sewage directly into the sea, causing the water to become polluted with potentially dangerous substances. The contaminated water could lead to serious serious bugs or illnesses for both humans and animals.

Environmental campaign group Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) has gathered data which suggests that there has been storm sewage discharge into the water at beaches in Cornwall, Devon, Cumbria, Sussex, Lancashire, Essex, Lincolnshire and Northumberland. Particular beaches affected include some in Southend-on-Sea and Newquay, which have been closed for the last two days. Swimmers on these beaches have been urged to check the interactive Surfers Against Sewage map to stay informed about local water conditions.

Surfers Against Sewage interactive map
Photograph: Surfers Against Sewage

The Environment Agency has issued pollution alerts across the country, warning that the heavy rainfall and flooding of the past 48 hours may have affected water quality. The torrential conditions have forced water companies to release sewage in an effort to prevent drainage systems from being overwhelmed. If the sewage is not released, it could spill into streets or back up people’s toilets.

There could be serious health risks to swimming in contaminated water, so make sure to take a look at that Surfers Against Sewage map before you next hit the beach.

ICYMI: here’s everything you need to know about the August rail strikes.

Plus: bus fares across England will soon be capped to help fight the cost-of-living crisis.

Latest news


    The best things in life are free.

    Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

    Loading animation
    Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

    🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

    Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!