Dun Laoghaire Area Meeting


Motion: Councillor M. Baker
“That this Area Committee agrees to add Blackrock beach and Baths area to the list of designated official bathing areas.”
Under the 2008 Bathing Water Quality Regulations City Councils and County Councils are required to identify bathing waters on an annual basis. The Bathing Waters Directive 2006/7 EC requires that water quality at all identified bathing waters meets stringent microbiological standards in order to protect the health of people who choose to bathe there.
Public Participation is required under Regulation 17 of the Bathing Water Quality Regulations SI No. 79 of 2008, as amended by SI No. 351 of 2011. In 2010, the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (DoECLG) (now the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG)) co-ordinated the Public Participation element of the Identification of Irish Bathing Waters for the 2011 bathing season, the first year of the implementation of the Bathing Waters Directive
2006/7 EC in Ireland. The DoECLG issued advice and guidance to all local authorities in relation to the criteria to be used in the identification of bathing waters.
From 2011 onwards, local authorities are responsible for encouraging public participation in relation to the establishment, review and updating of identified bathing waters within their respective functional areas for the forthcoming bathing season. As a result, this process not only gives the public the opportunity to identify new bathing waters which may be considered for classification, but also allows them to comment on existing, identified bathing waters with a view to continuation of classification, or not.
In 2016 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued guidance to assist the public in the identification of new bathing waters in the document “Public Advice on the Identification of New Bathing Waters – July 2016” which can be found at the link below on the EPA website,
Annex 1 of this document “Application for Identification of a New Bathing Area” gives a template for the submission of an application and sets out the mandatory and desired supporting information such as:
· Evidence of Use
· Beach Description and Facilities
· Consultation
· Water Quality
At the same time, the EPA also issued a framework to assist local authorities in the assessment of new bathing water submissions in the document “A Framework to assist Local Authorities in the assessment of submissions for the Identification of New Bathing Waters – July 2016” which can also be found on the EPA website, at the link below:
The main criteria used in the assessment of submissions are as follows:
· Location
· Beach Users / Bathers Numbers
· Car Parking and Facilities
· Commercial Impacts
· Local Community Support
· Water Quality
· Signage / Other Information
· Safety
· Planned Infrastructure / WWTP developments
· Costs
Local Authorities may also apply other criteria they deem necessary.
The above shows that the process of the Identification of New Bathing Waters, to become designated bathing areas, involves a detailed assessment of all relevant criteria which involves a public participation process which is currently underway and the relevant testing to EPA standards before a decision can be made to identify a new bathing water as suitable, or not, to become a designated bathing area.
Blackrock Beach and baths is currently undergoing this assessment before it can be concluded whether it meets the criteria for bathing water designation or what improvements/additions are necessary to meet the designation requirements.

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