A stream at Port Meadow has been granted bathing water status.

Wolvercote Mill Stream on the River Thames was granted the status by the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) following a consultation, becoming the second river in England to receive the status

The consultation ran between consultation ran from 9 February to 2 March and received 1,267 responses.

READ MORE: Oxford private school slammed for asking for money for Russian pupils tuition fees

The status means the Environment Agency will monitor the water quality of the river during the bathing season, which runs from May 15 to September 30.

Monitoring of the water quality will commence this May.

Oxford Mail: Wolvercote Mill Stream. Picture: Google Maps Wolvercote Mill Stream. Picture: Google Maps

Oxford City Council will be responsible for providing public information about water quality and potential pollution sources as well as taking management measures, usually in the form of providing warning signage as advised by the EA, during pollution incidents.

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, said she is “delighted” at the result.

She said: “I am hopeful that this will make a huge difference to all those who swim in this part of the Thames, and all those who may start swimming here as a result. Months of work and keeping pressure on DEFRA have paid off, and I look forward to our community reaping the rewards.

“Oxford can be a beacon to other parts of the country who want to see their rivers cleaned up, and I hope that this will become one of many designated river bathing waters across the country. I stand ready to lend my support to any other community who want to achieve this, and I hope that we have inspired them.

“I want to pay particular tribute to all the tireless campaigners who have worked so hard to get us to this point, and I am looking forward to joining them in the Thames for a swim in due course!”

Oxford Mail: Wolvercote Mill Stream. Picture: Google Maps Wolvercote Mill Stream. Picture: Google Maps

Claire Robertson, Oxford rivers project officer at Thames21 said: “I’m overjoyed this designation is going ahead. This stretch of river is a regularly used and treasured place for hundreds of people - families, swimmers, kayakers, rowers, anglers, birdwatchers - and a home for many other creatures, and this is the very least it deserves.

“I’m looking forward to working locally with Thames Water and other partners to ensure the water quality improves, and nationally to help other groups protect their local rivers.”

“I’d really like to thank the many people who made this possible, mainly volunteers giving their time and energy for free, and the extremely dedicated community of Oxford who love this river. Let’s hope we’re the second site of many more.”


Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

For news updates straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on news@nqo.com or 01865 425 445.