Calum McPhail, SEPA Unit Manager in Environmental Quality, said:
Under the new directive, our estimates show over 75% of Scotland’s existing bathing waters would already meet the ‘excellent’, ‘good’ or ‘sufficient’ classifications. We expect further improvement this year, but some bathing waters are still unlikely to reach the ‘sufficient’ classification when we first report at the end of this bathing water season.
“The expected improvements are because these predicted classifications are only initial estimates of potential classifications. Specifically these initial estimates use data from 2011, when parts of the new Bathing Water directive were not available for implementation, in particular the short term pollution provision. Additionally they don’t reflect the more recent Scottish Water investment and our pollution control activities in prioritised rural catchments.
“All the bathing waters originally designated in 1988 and 1994 reached the mandatory or guideline standard in 2014 under the former Directive, a vast improvement from the first year of monitoring in 1988, when 13 of the then 28 designated sites failed. The improvement is testimony to our work with Scottish Water and the rural community.
“Our challenge, therefore, is to build upon the progress made under the previous Directive to achieve corresponding improvements in 2015 and beyond through further investment and infrastructure improvements.”