Scotland’s bathing water season starts

  02 June 2014
Collieston in Aberdeenshire became Scotland’s 84th designated bathing water yesterday (1 June) as the country’s official bathing water season began.

The beach will now be sampled by experts from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) throughout the summer until the season ends on 15 September. Across Scotland over two and a half months more than 1,500 bathing water samples will be collected and analysed, with results available online.

As in previous years SEPA's electronic bathing water signage system, one of the largest real time public information systems in the UK after roads and rail, will also operate daily at 23 locations, telling beach visitors the predicted water quality by 10.00 on the day of their visit. Information can also be found via the mobile bathing waters site and through Beachline.

Calum McPhail, Environmental Quality Manager for SEPA, said:

Last year was the best on record with 100% pass rate on the largest number of bathing waters we’ve had, and the highest number of guideline standard passes.

"We know that success is very weather dependent, Scotland’s changeable weather patterns and heavy summer rains can have a negative impact on water quality. Of course we’re all hoping for a dry summer, and this did play a significant role in last year’s result, but we also hope that the work SEPA has been doing with a range of partners to raise awareness of the risks and impacts of pollution, and measures to reduce them, means that any wet weather we do get will have less of a role to play in how our beaches perform this summer.”

Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse, said:

2013 was hailed as the best year on record for water quality for all of Scotland’s designated bathing waters and we hope to continue building on this success. It is also fantastic to welcome a new designated bathing water for 2014 at Collieston in Aberdeenshire, bringing the total number of bathing waters to 84, the highest number for 20 years.

“The Scottish Government continues to work closely with SEPA and land managers to protect the quality of Scotland’s renowned water environment.

“With 2014 being our second year of Homecoming and Scotland hosting the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup, maintaining good clean bathing waters will benefit visitors and local residents who I hope will be inspired to get active and enjoy our beaches and inland lochs.”


Notes to editors

During the 2013 statutory bathing season (which lasted for 107 days from 1 June to 15 September), SEPA monitored Scotland's 83 official EU designated bathing waters:

  • 47 (57%) were classified as being of guideline quality for EU compliance.
  • 36 (43%) were classified as being of mandatory quality for EU compliance.

Real time water quality forecasts are available online and at SEPA’s Beachline number 08452 30 30 98. Scotland has 84 designated bathing waters. Bathing water profiles for each one can be viewed on our website.

More information on electronic signs, and the 23 bathing waters that have them, can also be viewed online.

The current EU Bathing Water Directive (76/160/EEC) was created to protect and enhance the quality of bathing waters throughout Europe. SEPA is now working with the Scottish Government during the implementation of their strategy 'Better bathing waters - meeting the challenge of the revised Bathing Waters Directive on Scotland' aimed at developing and meeting requirements of the revised Bathing Waters Directive as enacted by the Bathing Waters (Scotland) Regulations 2008, with first reporting against the revised directive expected in 2015.