Step 3

Getting the landowner & local authority on board

The landowner of the site must support your application. Find out who the landowner is and contact them to explain your initial plans. If you are unsure who the landowner is you can find out using the links in the Facilities, Liability, Landownership and Access section of the Useful Links page in this toolkit. The landowner may be the local authority, the environmental agency, other government body, a trust or private company or person. The local authority’s Planning department may also be able to help. If you are unsure who the local authority is for the stretch of waterway, you can find out using the Local Council finder.

Arrange to meet them in person or on a Teams or Zoom call to explain more about bathing water designation. Be prepared with an agenda to help guide you through the talking points.

View contact letter template

View meeting agenda template

Use The Outdoor Swimming Society Inland Access Guide if you need support in explaining to the landowner or local authority what it means in becoming a designated site from a liability point of view. It’s important to remember that once a site is designated there is no more or no less liability placed on the landowner.

Depending on which government agency you are applying to, your local authority may be required to support your application. Contact them early in your plans to discuss why you are applying, what the pollution issues are and the benefits of bathing water designation. If you are finding it difficult to reach the relevant local authority department your councillor may be able to help you with this. The Environmental Protection or Planning teams will be a good place to start.

One way to get local authority support is to put a motion to your council and have councillors’ support it. This sounds scary, but it doesn’t have to be! Almost everyone agrees the level of river pollution is unacceptable and want to see that change. This can help because it will give council officers a clear steer that this is what the council want to see. Some applications can get stalled for a long time by council bureaucracy.

Within your application you must provide evidence that you have the local authority and landowners support in submitting an application. This evidence should be a letter or an email.

Useful links & websites

Submission checklist

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