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All Beaches Officially Clean 2006-09-16

Posted by clype in Health, Science, Scotland, Statistics.

Every one of Scotland’s designated bathing beaches passed stringent water quality tests this summer, the first time such a result has been achieved since testing began 20 years ago.

Experts from ‘The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency’ (SEPA) — the government’s environment watchdog — said the record result for the 63 designated beaches was a result of Scotland’s third driest summer on record and improvements in sewage treatment.

The results mean the beaches have either passed at ‘guideline’ standard and have excellent water quality or at ‘mandatory’ standard indicating good quality. However, one of the UK’s leading conservation bodies disputed the figures, saying Carnoustie in Angus should not have passed the tests, and said ‘The Scottish Executive’ and SEPA had doubled the number of tests for the beach to ‘iron out problems’.
Deputy environment minister Ms.Rhona Brankin, who yesterday revealed the results, said:

‘Scotland’s bathing waters have never been cleaner to swim in. People come from all over the world to enjoy our wonderful coastline, so we should welcome this tremendous news for tourism, for environment and for public health. We are investing to protect Scotland’s natural resources.’

SEPA’s bathing waters expert Mr.Calum Mcphail, said:

‘Of the 63 sites monitored, 29 were of good quality meeting EC ‘mandatory’ standards for the season with 34 achieving ‘guideline’ standards and being of excellent quality. There were no sites recorded as being of poor quality.’

However, ‘The Marine Conservation Society‘ (The MCS) which publishes ‘The Good Beach Guide’ recommending beaches if they meet ‘The European water quality standard’, said not all beaches passed. It said it will list Carnoustie as a ‘fail’ in its 2007 guide published 2007-05. The Coastal Pollution Officer for The MCS Mr.Tom Bell, said:

‘”SEPA” normally carries out 20 tests on each beach, but it did 40 for Carnoustie, which ironed out the problem in terms of league tables. The public does not know how these results are compiled and we have expressed our concerns to “The Executive” and “SEPA”.’

A SEPA spokesman said they had a different remit from MCS:

‘There are occasions when short pollution events can and do occur. For example, early July saw two consecutive poor quality samples at Carnoustie, which were taken after thunderstorms and localised heavy rainfall.

‘An investigation identified the source of pollution from an input to a local burn which was dealt with immediately.’

SEPA statistics show that last year 3/60 Scottish bathing beaches failed European tests. In 2004, 4/60 did not make the grade while the previous year 3/60 failed.



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