Improving Picture of Scotland’s Beaches

Scotland’s bathing water quality is the best it has been since 2015 when tighter standards first came into force, with almost all sites now classified as sufficient or better for next season. That’s the findings of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) annual survey.

On top of that 32 out of 85 – (38%) are rated as ‘excellent’, the highest number since the annual classifications were reported from 2015. The results are for the Scottish mainland.

Dingieshowe Image Credit Bell

Key Findings

  • 99% of Scotland’s designated bathing waters met the required environmental water quality standards for the 2021 bathing water season.
  • 38% of bathing waters achieved ‘excellent’ status – the highest since tighter standards first came into force in 2015.
  • Significant improvement achieved at Ayr (South Beach) which achieved Good status.
  • Improvement measures and plans for Rockcliffe aim to sustain this year’s improved water quality.
  • Farmers and land managers have continued to show good compliance with environmental protection measures.
  • Management plans in place at Dhoon Bay designed to improve water quality in 2022 and beyond.

Commenting, Terry A’Hearn, Chief Executive of SEPA said:

“Improving Scotland’s water environment is a key priority for SEPA, and that includes the bathing waters so many of us enjoy. Across Scotland, we work to protect watercourses through licensing, inspection and regulation of discharges, and pollution incident response. In addition, we provide advice and guidance to the public, industry, developers, and local authorities.”

This positive news comes after MPs in the House of Commons voted to allow the dumping of raw sewage into England’s rivers and seas. There was such a public outcry that the Tory MPs (including the Scottish ones) backed down on their initial decision. It’s all part of the Environment Bill going through the London Parliament.

Scotland’s Bathing Waters

The Scottish Government funded “My Beach Your Beach” campaign which is delivered by Keep Scotland Beautiful has also successfully helped people care for our beaches and bathing waters by raising public awareness to reduce beach pollution from dogs, gulls, and litter.

Although that campaign focused its activities at Ayr, Troon, Irvine, Saltcoats/Ardrossan, Kinghorn, Portobello and Fisherrow beaches, around the coastlines many citizens have been caring for their beaches voluntarily for many years.

Speaking about Scotland’s beaches, Minister for Environment and Land Reform in the Scottish Government, Mairi McAllan said:

“Scotland’s bathing waters are so important to our environment and to people’s health and well-being and it is great to see hard work and investment delivering results.”

Image credit Bell

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