Meeting held to identify action plan for improving water quality at Nairn's beaches

The Highland Council has met with SEPA, Scottish Water and representatives of Nairn community to discuss water quality issues for Nairn Central and East Beaches.

 

Chair of the Nairn Area Committee, Cllr Michael Green said: “It has been a very positive first meeting. I would like to thanks officers from SEPA, Scottish Water , Highland Council and community representatives for attending and providing information and contribution to the discussion. 

 

“We have set up a Stakeholder Group,  which will meet next month to review the ongoing works and the most effective usage of the new electronic signs. Going forward, we look to actively engage and provide feedback on the longer term action plans for improving the  water quality of our two fantastic beaches.”

 

Calum McPhail, SEPA, explained the new regulations and described the recent monitoring results and EU water classification system  for Nairn beaches. He outlined how the new electronic beach signs would provide daily information and advice to bathers and how this is a key part of beach management to achieve a better classification. He said: “A few very severe rainfall incidents have pushed the water quality into the “poor” category.  We need to focus on risks and managing these occasional issues. Our strategy is to reduce overall contamination levels, develop improvement plans with key deliverables and reduce the risk of incidents. We recognise an important aspect of this is local engagement. SEPA is working with the Scottish Government and key partner organisations to address all 17 beaches across Scotland which have been identified as requiring action and we will work with local communities to improve bathing waters.

 

He added: “The new signage has been operational for a number of years now and is regarded as  successful elsewhere. It provides real time information based on environmental information. Most days will show that the water is not predicted to have water quality issues, but it will advise of those days where heavy rainfall may have impacted on the standard of the water. For example the most recent test result in May 2016 showed the water quality as meeting a high quality on that occasion.”

 

Kevin McCreath, Scottish Water said: “Scottish Water is committed to protection of the environment and Nairn’s bathing waters. We are working with SEPA and the Council to ensure the public sewerage system is operated and maintained in accordance with best practice. We have completed a number of studies which indicate that the current sewerage system can support the new bathing water objectives. However, we will continue to seek opportunities to make the public sewerage system more resilient and ensure it has the capability to support planned development. There are also things the community can do to help ensure the sewerage system’s performance is not compromised by fats, oils, grease and non-biodegradable products; which can block drainage systems and be discharged to the environment. We are happy to support the wider challenge of managing diffuse pollution, which extends throughout the Nairn river catchment. No one agency can deliver actions required to meet the new bathing water’s “excellent” standard on its own.”

 

ends

 Useful Links to further information:

 

http://media.sepa.org.uk/media-releases/2016/new-bathing-water-classifications-to-be-displayed-at-scotlands-beaches-this-season/

 

http://www.scottishwater.co.uk/you-and-your-home/your-home/keep-the-water-cycle-running-smoothly

 

26 May 2016
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