North Devon has seen a decent mixed bag of bathing water quality results released today (Thursday) under the new tougher testing regime. Holiday beaches including Putsborough, Saunton, Ilfracombes Tunnels and Westward Ho! have been rated excellent. Woolacombe, Croyde, Hele and Combe Martin have been ranked as good but Ilfracombes Wildersmouth and Instow are rated poor. Under the new, stricter European standards beaches are classified based on their results over the previous four years. Defra said the new standards are approximately twice as tough as the old system, where beaches were ranked based on one year of water testing results. Other excellent rankings went to Combesgate Beach at Woolacombe, Hartland Quay and Lynmouth. Reflecting on the national results, Environment Minister Rory Stewart said: Our bathing waters continue to get better, with 97 per cent meeting new, tougher standards. We continue working to further improve the quality of our water, and last year our coast was the cleanest it has ever been. Swimming is allowed and all beaches remain open; these new EU standards are simply there to advise and inform the public on water quality I want Britains beaches, seas and lakes to have the cleanest water in the world. We need everyone to help us achieve this from Government, water companies and councils to local communities.