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Marine - Coastal Bathing Water Quality

High Level Summary of Statistics Trend Last update: Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Coastal Bathing Water Quality

EC Bathing Water Directive1 (76/160/ EEC) set out requirements for Member States to monitor and assess the water quality at designated bathing waters, and provide public information on the results. The Directive set out two quality standards - the 'mandatory' standard and the stricter 'guideline' standard. Since 2015, bathing water has been assessed by new tighter standards on bathing water quality based on four years performance, as set out in EU Bathing Water Directive (2006/7/EC).

In 2014, all but two of Scotland’s coastal bathing waters met the mandatory standard, with 56% of the bathing waters also achieving the guideline standard. There was a steady improvement in compliance with the mandatory standard between 2007 and 2013 when all coastal bathing waters met the mandatory standard.

On the basis of initial assessments for 2016, 85% of the 81 coastal bathing waters met the new minimum European standard with 73% classified as excellent or good quality. There has been an increase in the number of coastal bathing waters assessed as excellent quality from 16 over the four years to 2015 to 25 over the four years to 2016. The number assessed as poor quality fell from 17 over the four years to 2015 to 12 over the four years to 2016.

Weather can have a large effect on the compliance of bathing waters, as heavy rain can lead to overflows from drains and surface water run-off from fields containing animal manure, which raises the risk of sites failing to meet the required standard.


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Source: Scottish Environment Protection Agency

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