Highland beaches meet strict environmental water quality standards
Achmelvich Beach in Sutherland where bathing water has been graded as "excellent"
The Chair of The Highland Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee has welcomed the findings published by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) that 16 beaches designated for bathing across the Highlands and Islands have met strict environmental standards for water quality.
The results for designated bathing beaches across the Highlands and Islands show 8 classed as “excellent”, 7 “good” and 1 falling into the “sufficient” category. None were ranked “poor”.
Councillor Ken Gowans said: “The Highlands is lucky to boost some of the country’s’ most spectacular beaches – from remote West Coast gems and the wide sweeping northern coast beaches to the popular golden sands that run along the East Coast Eight of the beaches designated for swimming have received an “excellent” rating which is a fantastic result. I am delighted that none of the ratings fell into the “poor” category.”
“Our stunning beaches are not only precious to their local communities and surrounding area but they play a part in boosting tourism and the local economy so it is good these high standards are in place. Local families and visitors spending time exploring and enjoying them have the reassurance that the water they swim and paddling in has met these very strict standards.”
The bathing waters receiving an “Excellent” grading for 2023 are:
- Gairloch Beach
- Loch Morlich
- Sand Beach
The following will be graded as “Good” for 2023:
- Ettrick Bay
- Lossiemouth (East)
- Nairn Central
- Nairn East
Dores will be graded as “sufficient”
Scotland’s official bathing water season runs between 1 June and 15 September. Throughout the season, SEPA’s specialist teams sample the designated waters providing regular water quality information which is published on the SEPA website. Pre-season sampling is carried out during May. Monitoring water quality in this way means SEPA can provide information on water quality for bathing and develop a strategy for any water quality improvements needed.
Electronic messaging signs, at selected bathing waters across Scotland, provide real-time predictions of water quality during the season.