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Tory MPs call for target on designated inland bathing water sites

Scores of Conservative MPs have called on the government to set a target for the creation of more designated bathing waters in rivers for swimmers, kayakers and paddleboarders.

The government is now facing pressure from its own MPs to set a goal for expanding the number of swimming areas. More than 40 MPs have signed the Conservative Environment Network’s river manifesto, which calls for a target on inland bathing water sites.

“Bathing water status is a valuable tool to improve rivers and beaches as it means water quality is consistently monitored to inform swimmers and expose pollution,” Sally-Ann Hart, the MP for Hastings & Rye, said. “It can equally restore the public’s faith in local rivers and beaches following water firms’ failures.”

As part of an apology by Water UK about sewage spills on Thursday, the industry body promised to help up to 100 communities to create more inland bathing waters.

“I am pleased they have committed to fund bids for bathing water status in up to 100 places so pollution is monitored to ensure they are safe for people to enjoy,” Philip Dunne, the MP for Ludlow, said.

“To deliver these sites, ministers should set an ambitious target for designating this status to more places along our rivers with an improved monitoring system to relieve pressure on the Environment Agency.”

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