Scotland reveals its best and worst beaches

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Eighty per cent of Scottish beaches passed as either sufficient, good or excellent

Seventeen beaches in Scotland have had their water quality tested and have been rated as ‘excellent’ within the new, much tougher, European standards.

Eighty per cent of the beaches in Scotland passed the new tests as either ‘sufficient’, ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ by The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) but seventeen beaches were now classed as ‘poor’.

Thirty-eight Scottish beaches were classed as ‘good’ and twelve as ‘sufficient’.

SEPA reveals quality information of its beaches

Camusdarach Beach, Glenancross

The quality of water was measured by SEPA at eighty-four ‘officially designated bathing waters’ throughout Scotland.

Some beaches, including the Western Isles, are inclined to have good water quality, so they are not officially designated and not tested.

Four years of monitoring data by SEPA was included in the new EU classification system, which helped to present a ‘more consistent picture’ of the quality of the water.

The beaches will have their new grades displayed from May to mid-September.

SEPA is working on plans to improve the beaches that were rated as ‘poor’, hoping that they can reach the ‘sufficient’ standard by 2020.

Environmental quality manager at SEPA, Calum McPhail, said: “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.”

Mr McPhail added that a ‘poor’ rating doesn’t automatically mean that the quality of the water is constantly poor and urges people to continue visiting these wonderful beaches.

He also said that Scottish bathing waters had been growing in number and quality since 1988, when beach monitoring first started.

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