Pass marks for Angus beaches

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In what has been a long and sunny summer, the beaches in and around Angus have achieved an excellent overall standard, according to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, known as SEPA.

Arbroath’s West Links received a pass at the European Mandatory standard, while Carnoustie, Monifieth and Broughty Ferry received the higher Guideline pass. Only Lunan Bay failed on its water quality.

These results compare favourably with the rest of Scotland, with the country’s 84 designated bathing waters achieving a high overall pass rate of 97 per cent for this year.

Despite the impact of the tail end of a hurricane this summer, only the beaches at Heads of Ayr and Lunan Bay failed for the overall 2014 season. Of the other 82, 36 were mandatory passes and 46 reached the higher guideline standard.

In addition, SEPA’s daily water quality predictions had their best ever season, with 88 per cent of poor water quality events correctly predicted and warning messages displayed to the public.

Calum McPhail, SEPA’s acting Head of Environmental Quality, said: “While we are disappointed that two bathing waters failed this year, I think it’s important to look at how far we’ve come in understanding the environment and tackling the pressures.

“Every year has brought further steps towards better water quality and that work will continue in 2015 and beyond.

“Access to information for the public has never been better with electronic information signs at 23 beaches, as well as SEPA’s website, smartphone app and Beachline number, so that people have the information to choose whether to swim, paddle or stick to beach sports.”

Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Despite this year’s more challenging conditions, it is encouraging to see that 82 out of our 84 bathing waters passed the European mandatory standard, with more than half continuing to meet the more stringent guideline standard.

“Weather, and specifically severe rainfall events, can play a key role in having localised impacts on water quality.

“Undoubtedly, this year’s results have been influenced positively in some cases by the fantastic beach weather we have seen this year and negatively in other cases when, for example, torrential downpours affected Scotland this summer, in the aftermath of Hurricane Bertha.

“Some beaches may not have met water quality aspirations, but it is typically the case that they may fail to meet the desired standard only once or twice a year.

“Scotland is continuing to prepare for the tighter European bathing water quality standards that come in next year along with a new classification system.

“The Scottish Government and SEPA will continue to work closely with key partners on providing public information at our bathing waters, and to protect, manage, and improve areas where water quality is at risk.”

Predictions for the 2015 season, along with more information, are available on SEPA View, SEPA’s online magazine, at www.sepaview.com/2014/09/tidal-change-achievements-at-the-ebb-of-the-current-directive-and-the-challenge-ahead/

Results for individual beaches can be found at www.sepa.org.uk/water/bathing_waters/sampling_and_results.aspx