Another good summer for Scotland’s Bathing Waters

date30 September 2014

Scotland’s 84 designated bathing waters achieved another high pass rate of 97% this year. Despite the impact of the tail end of a hurricane, this summer only two beaches (Heads of Ayr and Lunan Bay) failed for the overall 2014 season. Of the other 82, 36 were mandatory passes and 46 reached the higher guideline standard.

In addition, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (SEPA) daily water quality predictions had their best season ever this year, with 88% of poor water quality events correctly predicted in real time and warning messages displayed to the public.

This is the last time reporting will take this format which has been used since the introduction of the current Bathing Water Directive and which delivered 26 years of monitoring, better pollution control, and improved environmental management systems for our designated bathing waters.

All the sites originally designated in 1988, when current records began, have now been brought up to the mandatory or guideline European water quality standard. This is a significant improvement from that first year, when 13 sites failed.

Calum McPhail, SEPA’s acting Head of Environmental Quality, said:

While we are disappointed that two bathing waters failed this year, I think it’s important, as we move towards the revised standards and classifications in the new Directive next year, to look at how far we’ve come in understanding the environment and tackling the pressures on water quality. Whether it’s working with local farmers and land managers to reduce agricultural run-off or working with Scottish Water to identify improvements to their infrastructure, every year has brought further steps towards better water quality. That work will continue in 2015 and beyond.

“Access to water quality information for the public has never been better. From 1988 when sample results were only reported as an end of season outcome, now there are electronic information signs at 23 beaches, as well as SEPA’s website, smartphone app and Beachline number, which all provide on the day water quality predictions so that people have the information to choose whether to swim, paddle or stick to beach sports.”

Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse said:

Despite this year’s more challenging conditions, it is encouraging to see that 82 out of our 84 bathing waters passed the European mandatory standard, with more than half continuing to meet the more stringent guideline standard.

“Weather, and specifically severe rainfall events, can play a key role in having localised impacts on water quality - undoubtedly this year’s results have been influenced positively in some cases by the fantastic beach weather we have seen this year and negatively in other cases when, for example, torrential downpours affected Scotland this summer, in the aftermath of Hurricane Bertha.                                           

“Some beaches may not have met water quality aspirations, but it is typically the case that they may fail to meet the desired standard only once or twice a year. Where water quality is predicted not to meet the desired standard due to forecast severe rainfall, our investment in a network of electronic signs at many of our popular beaches, continues to provide accurate daily information to bathers and water sports enthusiasts, and we must continue to  build on the provision of such information.

 “Scotland is continuing to prepare for the tighter European bathing water quality standards that come in next year along with a new classification system for bathing waters. The Scottish Government and SEPA will continue to work closely with key partners on providing public information at our bathing waters, and to protect, manage, and improve areas where water quality is at risk.”

Predictions for the 2015 season, along with more information on how far we’ve come since 1988 are available on SEPA View, SEPA’s online magazine, at

www.sepaview.com/2014/09/tidal-change-achievements-at-the-ebb-of-the-current-directive-and-the-challenge-ahead/

Results for individual beaches can be found at www.sepa.org.uk/water/bathing_waters/sampling_and_results.aspx

Ends

Notes to editors

EU rules

EU rules for the current 1976 Directive mean that if bathing water sampling fails more than once at a site where 20 samples are taken at the official monitoring location throughout the season, then it has failed overall EU compliance at the end of the season. At sites where only 10 samples are taken, then one failure will mean it has failed for the season.

SEPA's role

SEPA samples and tests water from Scotland’s designated bathing waters during the season 1 June – 15 September.  These results are reported to the European Commission on an annual basis. In addition, a number of other organisations use SEPA’s results to apply various beach award and guide schemes.

Results breakdown

During the 2014 statutory bathing season (which lasted for 107 days from 1 June to 15 September), SEPA monitored Scotland's 84 official EU designated bathing waters:

  • 46 (55%) were classified as being of guideline quality for EU compliance.
  • 36 (43%) were classified as being of mandatory quality for EU compliance.
  • 2   (2%) were classified as failing the mandatory quality for EU compliance.

Total number of samples

SEPA sampled most of the bathing waters 20 times to assess their quality over the course of this year's season (1 June – 15 September).

During the 2014 bathing season SEPA analysed a total of 1,581 samples from the 84 bathing waters. Of these12 individual samples were mandatory failures which relates to 0.8% of all samples to be reported to the EU for water quality compliance.

2014 overall end of season results

 

 

Aberdeen

Mandatory

Aberdour (Silversands)

Guideline

Aberdour Harbour (Black Sands)

Guideline

Achmelvich

Guideline

Anstruther (Billow Ness)

Guideline

Arbroath (West Links)

Mandatory

Ayr (South Beach)

Mandatory

Balmedie

Guideline

Brighouse Bay

Guideline

Broad Sands

Guideline

Broughty Ferry

Guideline

Burntisland

Guideline

Carnoustie

Guideline

Carrick

Mandatory

Coldingham

Mandatory

Collieston

Mandatory

Crail (Roome Bay)

Guideline

Cruden Bay

Mandatory

Cullen Bay

Guideline

Culzean

Mandatory

Dhoon Bay

Mandatory

Dores

Guideline

Dornoch

Guideline

Dunbar (Belhaven)

Mandatory

Dunbar (East)

Mandatory

Dunnet

Guideline

Elie (Harbour) and Earlsferry

Guideline

Elie (Ruby Bay)

Guideline

Ettrick Bay

Guideline

Eyemouth

Mandatory

Findhorn

Mandatory

Fisherrow Sands

Mandatory

Fraserburgh (Philorth)

Guideline

Fraserburgh (Tiger Hill)

Mandatory

Ganavan

Guideline

Girvan

Mandatory

Gullane

Guideline

Heads of Ayr

Fail

Inverboyndie

Guideline

Irvine

Mandatory

Kinghorn (Harbour Beach)

Mandatory

Kinghorn (Pettycur)

Guideline

Kingsbarns

Guideline

Kirkcaldy (Seafield)

Guideline

Largs (Pencil Beach)

Guideline

Leven

Guideline

Loch Morlich

Mandatory

Longniddry

Mandatory

Lossiemouth (East)

Mandatory

Lunan Bay

Fail

Lunderston Bay

Guideline

Luss Bay

Mandatory

Machrihanish

Guideline

Maidens

Mandatory

Millport Bay

Guideline

Monifieth

Guideline

Montrose

Guideline

Mossyard

Mandatory

Nairn (Central)

Mandatory

Nairn (East)

Mandatory

North Berwick (Milsey Bay)

Guideline

North Berwick (West)

Guideline

Pease Bay

Guideline

Peterhead (Lido)

Guideline

Portobello (Central)

Mandatory

Portobello (West)

Mandatory

Prestwick

Mandatory

Rockcliffe

Mandatory

Rosehearty

Guideline

Rosemarkie

Mandatory

Saltcoats/Ardrossan

Mandatory

Sandyhills

Mandatory

Seacliff

Guideline

Seamill

Guideline

Seton Sands

Guideline

Southerness

Guideline

St Andrews (East Sands)

Guideline

St Andrews (West Sands)

Guideline

Stonehaven

Mandatory

Thorntonloch

Guideline

Thurso

Mandatory

Troon (South Beach)

Guideline

Whitesands

Mandatory

Yellow Craig

Guideline


Scotland’s Environment website

Scotland’s Environment website has further information on Bathing Waters with its new Spotfire tool. You can find it at www.environment.scotland.gov.uk/get-interactive/data/bathing-waters/