A CAMPAIGN to get Penarth Beach and Colw-Huw Beach in Llantwit Major recognised as bathing waters has reached the public consultation stage.

Being designated as bathing waters would mean that Natural Resources Wales would have to test the waters for bacteria such as E. Coli.

The waters would then get a classification of excellent, good, sufficient or poor, which is then published by the Welsh Government.

If successful, the beaches would be granted bathing water status by May 2022, when the bathing season begins.

There are 105 bathing waters in Wales, with the closest one to Penarth being located in Barry.

This is despite many local groups taking to the water in Penarth early in the mornings.

James Tennet, 34, is the Penarth resident behind the application.

Mr Tennet said: "No one really knows what the water quality is.

"Lots of people say 'the waters aren't very nice in Penarth' while others will say 'I've been swimming there for 50 years and it's fine'.

"But there's no actual data, nobody really knows because it's not tested."

If the tests show that the water is poor, then steps will have to be taken to improve the quality of the water.

If the tests are poor for five years in a row, then the bathing water status will be revoked and advice given to avoid the water.


Mr Tennet has been open-water swimming since November, but has been travelling to Barry instead of using the water in Penarth.

"As a permanent resident, I'd like to swim more, but I don't have time to drive to the nearest designated bathing area in Barry every day," said Mr Tennet.

"Wild swimming is so good for mental wellbeing and I think that's why it would be so great if Penarth Beach was a designated bathing water - in order to allow so many other people to benefit in this way as well.

"There are still people who are hesitant because of this unknown of what the water quality is like."

The public consultancy stage runs until February 15.

To take part in the consultancy, visit the Welsh Government page here and complete the survey.

Although both Penarth Beach and Col-Huw Beach are listed in the same survey, you may ignore the questions on one of the beaches as one beach being granted bathing water status isn't reliant on the other also being granted the status.