With the popularity of open water swimming having experienced a massive boom in the past few years, swimmers are now taking an active interest in the quality and safety of the water they’re swimming in. Local North Down Alliance MLA Andrew Muir has welcomed the possible expansion of bathing water testing sites to include several local beaches in North Down.
|Andrew Muir MLA at Brompton Beach, Bangor|
Commenting on the issue Mr Muir said “North Down is blessed with some of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful beaches which have seen a huge increase in open water swimming in the past year or two as people have realised the abundance of benefits that come with sea swimming. It’s great for both physical and mental health and with our coastline being as stunning as it is, Northern Ireland is the perfect place to do it.”
“Currently there are 26 beaches where water quality is monitored and 8 of these were awarded a blue flag in 2021. The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is responsible for bathing water testing and recently confirmed there will be a review of the sites where bathing water is tested and a possible extension of the window during which sampling occurs. Currently waters are tested between the start of June and middle of September but a lot of people are now swimming all year round so it would be great to see testing take place during all seasons.
I had submitted questions to the Minister for Agriculture around this last year in the hope that the Department would consider an expansion so this comes as very welcome news indeed. Will continue to push for change and may yet pluck up the courage to take the plunge myself at Brompton, Bangor.”