Stonehaven is one of 17 Scottish beaches expected to be deemed poor by European water quality standards when confirmed classifications are issued by the EU in spring 2016.
The findings, which were released last week by The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) show that while 80% of beaches are expected to meet the standards, Stonehaven will not be amongst them.
The Agency expects that, of the 84 designated bathing waters in Scotland, 17 will be rated as ‘excellent’, 38 will be classed as ‘good’, and 12 will be rated as ‘sufficient.’ However, seventeen bathing waters are expected to be classed as ‘poor’ after this season, due to the much tighter water quality standards of the new Bathing Water Directive.
The new classifications are calculated based on four years of monitoring data, and take the overall number of bacteria into account over this period, to give a more consistent picture of water quality condition when assigning the status of a bathing water area.
As well as tighter water quality standards, the Directive puts an emphasis on information provision for beach users and bathers. SEPA’s network of electronic signs at 23 key beach locations provide real-time water quality information and the Agency’s online bathing water profiles give site specific information for each of these locations.
Calum McPhail, from SEPA’s Environmental Quality Unit, said: “We will continue to work closely with the Scottish Government and other key partners to protect, manage and improve areas where water quality is at risk.”