Most beaches in Scotland are clean. However, some beaches have failed EU standards.

According to SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency), a report about Scottish beaches found that 17 were considered ‘excellent’, while seventeen were classified as excellent’. 17 was deemed ‘poor’, failing the minimal EU requirements. SEPA measured eighty-four of the ‘officially recognized bathing waters’ in Scotland. They found that 80% were compliant with new European water quality standards. Page 1: The 2016 classifications of Scotland’s bathing waters. Below is page 2. Image: SEPA Report. According to SEPA, 17 swimming waters were rated as excellent, 38 as good, and 12 as adequate. There is still room for improvement. However, stricter European water quality standards, which use 48 month of monitoring data in order to give a better picture of bathing waters quality, resulted in seventeen being classified as ‘poor. The new SEPA classifications will appear on beaches throughout Scotland starting in May (this month), and ending around September 2016.. Page 2: The 2016 classifications of bathing waters in Scotland. This image is Page 1. SEPA report. SEPA is expanding its network of electronic signs that provide real-time data on water quality to six key beaches. These include St. Andrews (East & West Sands), Heads of Ayr (East & Central), Fisherrow Sands, and Nairn (East & Central). SEPA will be focusing on beaches that have been given a poor rating. The agency plans to implement targeted improvements in order for these beaches to reach the minimum’sufficient’ category by the end. The plans are tailored to take steps to reduce pollution and provide advice about when not to go in the water. SEPA will work closely with Scottish Water and the Scottish Government as well as Local Authorities. The 2016 Scottish Bathing Waters Report contains information about SEPA’s work and EU classification. One of many beaches found on the Hebrides Islands. There are some stunning beaches in Scotland. (Image: gaelholidayhomes.co.uk) SEPA’s Environmental Quality Manager, Calum McPhail, said: “It is encouraging to see that the majority of Scotland’s bathing waters are performing so well under the new Directive which has introduced much stricter standards for bathing water quality.” “However, we understand that some local communities will be disappointed, as we are, that 17 bathing waters have been rated as having a ‘poor’ EU classification, and many will be concerned when the new classifications are displayed on these beaches for the first time this month.” “It is important to remember that a ‘poor’ classification does not necessarily mean that water quality is continually poor, and in many cases this is due to historic episodes of reduced water quality following heavy rainfall. Since 1988. began, the number of Scottish bathing water sources has increased and their quality improved. This is why we are determined to build on our progress and continue working with the Scottish Government, key partners organisations and other organizations to ensure that all bathing water avoids being classified as ‘poor’ by 2020.”. The EU Directive puts more emphasis on providing data for beach-users and bathers. SEPA is increasing its daily water quality forecasts to 29 key beaches this year to help more people decide whether or not to bathe in these waters. These real-time data are also available via SEPA’s website and a mobile app. Beachline can be contacted at the number below. You can get profiles and information for individual beaches at: apps.sepa.org.uk/bathingwaters/Profiles.aspx

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