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Clean Dee - Bathing water designation on the River Dee in Chester consultation

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This consultation is now closed.

Thank you to everyone who took part. The findings report is now available:

The findings were discussed by Cabinet in October 2023, where the decision was made to to submit an application to DEFRA for part of the River Dee to be designated as a bathing water.

Information about the Cabinet meeting is available online.

The application was submitted to DEFRA on 30 October 2023.


The Council, working with local groups and other key stakeholders, launched the Clean Dee Consultation on Thursday, 20 July.

Concern about the pollution of our rivers and coastal waters has been growing over the last few years. While there are several sources of pollution, attention has focused on the issue of untreated sewage being discharged into our waters, particularly during and following periods of heavy rainfall.

Responding to increasing local concerns about river cleanliness, the Council set up a cross-party task group of councillors to investigate this issue.

The Council and its partners need any many people as possible to get involved in this consultation and give their comments on the River Dee, what it means to local people and visitors, and how they use it.

As a result, this six-week consultation will inform a decision on a proposal to submit an application to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for a part of the river to be designated as a bathing water.

In considering applications, DEFRA takes into account the facilities at the site, the number of bathers and the outcome of the consultation.

On 3 July 2023, DEFRA published new, stricter guidance on the criteria and the application process. Further clarification of some of the new criteria is still being sought. The Council has been carrying out user surveys since the end of May 2023, based on the previously published criteria, and it will continue to do so, now based on the new criteria.

Although there are several sites where people access the water, it is only Sandy Lane, upstream from the river ferry, that potentially fits the criteria due to the number of people bathing there and the existence of facilities. Please note there are no plans for development and no plans to increase the number of bathers.

Further information is available in our consultation summary:

Take part and share your views

Complete the survey online

In addition to the online survey, respondents can give their views in an email, in writing and by requesting a paper version of the survey. Paper versions can be requested by contacting the Council’s Public Protection team (see below).

The consultation will close on Thursday, 31 August 2023.

What happens next?

Following feedback, an application to DEFRA could be made during the autumn. Feedback from the survey will also be published.

Accessibility statement

Council information is also available in audio, braille, large print or other formats.

If you would like a copy in a different format, in another language or require a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, please contact us: