Aerial view of a beach showing pollution

We've taken to the skies in a bid to cut pollution of our beaches and coastal waters.

High-tech ‘spotter’ planes have been flying along the Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Lincolnshire coastline this season to spot sources of pollution that can harm rivers, estuaries and the sea.

The light aircraft has taken hundreds of highly-detailed photographs – both during the day and at night using thermal infrared – to pinpoint the source of any pollution problems, and the routes they take to get to the sea.

This is one of a number of projects amounting to millions of pounds of investment that we're pioneering to protect the coast’s bathing waters, beaches and tourist economies. Tougher European legislation means beaches need to meet stricter criteria, or face having to put up signs warning people against going in the sea.

All bar one of the bathing waters in our region meet the new tighter standards, and have done since records began. Already 96% are classed as good or excellent, but this aerial work will ensure that continues and moves us closer to our goal of 100% excellent.