Step 8

Final checks & submitting your application

So, you’ve campaigned, consulted, surveyed and mapped out your site. You’ve got all the evidence you need. It’s time to apply!

Where to submit

As there are regional differences in the application process do research the government agency relevant to you to check the specific requirements:

England: DEFRA

Scotland: SEPA

Northern Ireland: DAERA

Wales: The Welsh Government

Some government agency’s require you to complete an application form as part of the process. Other agency’s require you to compile the evidence required in a word document and email it to a specific contact, which can be found in the individual links above for DEFRA, DAERA, SEPA and the Welsh Government. As your finished document may be large in size it would be advisable to save it as a PDF document when submitting it.

Final application contents checklist

Key application steps

Below is a useful summary of all the major steps which include the government agency’s evidence requirements. Remember not all steps apply to all regional government agencies across the UK.

Have you…

  • Contacted DEFRA/DEARA/SEPA/WG for initial conversation
  • Contacted the landowner
  • Contacted your local authority
  • Engaged with local community to confirm location of bathing site
  • Engaged with local community to champion bathing water designation
  • Recruited volunteers
  • Contacted your MP to raise awareness and gain their support
  • Contacted your councillor to raise awareness and gain their support
  • Explored options to test water quality using Citizen Science
  • Collected information on the bathing site location and any facilities
  • Carried out a survey of users during the bathing season
  • Held a local consultation
  • Compiled application of evidence

You’re now ready to submit your application to DEFRA / DAERA / SEPA / Welsh Government.

the approval process

What happens after you’ve submitted your application?

Once you have submitted your application the government agency will hold their own public consultation. This will be available on their website for the public to easily find and to give their feedback. Encourage your community to engage with this consultation also. Share the link on social media or via a newsletter if you have collected email addresses of those in your community network. The agency will also consult with a number of organisations directly, which includes Surfers Against Sewage.

Before a decision is made, consultation will take place between DEFRA/SEPA/WG/DAERA and with the environmental agency who will monitor the water quality. Any additional information about the inland waterway will be raised. Ministers make the final decision on whether your application is successful. The government agency that you applied to will contact you, the local authority, water company and landowner with a decision on your application before the next bathing season commences.

If your application is successful

The EA/SEPA/NRW/DAERA will create a bathing water profile for the bathing site and specify a water quality testing location. These agencies are obliged to test the water quality regularly throughout the bathing season. This information will be on the agency’s website linked below:

Northern Ireland: DAERA

England: Environment Agency

Wales: Natural Resources Wales

Scotland: SEPA

The local council must display signage at the bathing site containing information about the water quality and pollution sources. Once the first bathing water season has ended for a newly designated site the EA/SEPA/NRW/DAERA will give the bathing water site its first water quality classification of Excellent, Good, Sufficient or Poor. If the bathing site receives a designation of Poor then the environmental agency must take measures to prevent, reduce or eliminate the causes of pollution.

If it’s not successful this time

If your application is declined and designation is not received contact the agency to find out the specifics of why your application wasn’t successful. Raise a Freedom of Information (FOI) request if needed. Contact Surfers Against Sewage Community Water Quality Manager to discuss how we can support you.

Summary of process after application has been submitted

Downloadable resources

Useful links & websites

Submission checklist

Get help
& support

Explore the campaign map