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Scotland's bathing waters meet compliance standards

Scotland's bathing waters have maintained high environmental standards over the last year, although there is room for improvement with 11 out of 86 still rated as ‘poor’, according to a report from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

As the bathing season gets underway on June 1st, SEPA revealed that 87% of beaches and other bathing waters meet strict European standards for water quality. Almost a third – 25 out of 86 – are rated as ‘excellent’, while 34 are ‘good’ and 16 ‘sufficient’. The number rated as ‘poor’, 11, is unchanged since last year, although SEPA said that tailored improvement plans are in place with partners to improve water quality at each of these locations.

The regulator is making live water quality data available on its website by 10am every day during the bathing water season for 31 of the sites, and visitors can also view the information on electronic beach signage.

Terry A’Hearn, Chief Executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, said: “Every day SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s stunning environment and we are committed to ensuring all of Scotland’s designated bathing waters meet water quality standards.

“Having achieved the highest rate of compliance since the new Bathing Water Directive began we are already seeing many of our priority projects having a positive impact. Both Nairn sites, which have passed for the first time since 2015, have made good progress through working with partners and communities to coordinate activities and identify actions to address water quality challenges.

“Working with partners, we’re continuing our focus on bathing waters rated as ‘poor’, with tailored improvement plans prepared by SEPA. These projects will result in major improvements to bathing water quality in the future and should see improvements over the coming season.”

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham added: “Protecting and improving our bathing waters is crucial for our environment, for local economies which rely on beach tourism and for people who will be able to enjoy our seaside resorts and beaches over the summer months.

“Partnership working between SEPA, Scottish Water, local authorities, the farming sector, and communities is vital to achieving better results and I am pleased to see that this work has helped to drive forward improvements this season.”

A Scottish Water spokeswoman said: “We are pleased to see the continued improvement in bathing water performance.  Scottish Water has undertaken significant investment in partnership with SEPA in recent years to support bathing water quality.

“We are committed to delivering investment where our assets are found to be compromising quality.  We continue to work with SEPA and a range of agencies, local authorities, beach users and other relevant organisations to improve bathing water quality where required.

“People can help by ensuring that they only flush the right things down toilets – the three Ps: pee, poo and paper – to avoid causing blockages to drains and sewers which can cause pollution on beaches.”

Author: James Brockett,
Topic: Water Quality
Tags: Scotland , Bathing water quality

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