Compliance with the EC Bathing Water Directive (76/160/EEC): 1988-2011
Percentage compliance of coastal bathing waters
High quality bathing waters are important for a wide variety of interests and they support Scotland's tourism industry. Monitoring the quality of these waters provides an indication of the health risks of bathing from both direct and diffuse discharges of effluents containing faecal contaminants.
EC Bathing Water Directive (76/160/EEC) sets out two quality standards - the 'mandatory' standard, and the stricter 'guideline' standard. Member states should comply with the mandatory standard and aim to comply with the guideline standard. In 2011, 95% of the 80 identified coastal bathing waters achieved the mandatory standard, and 49% achieved the guideline standard.
It is important to note that the weather has a bearing on compliance, with wet weather often contributing to poorer results and, conversely, drier, sunnier weather associated with better results. Under Article 5.2 of the current directive (76/160/EEC), results must be excluded from consideration if they are the consequence of abnormal weather conditions. If a result is excluded, then a replacement sample is taken immediately after the abnormal effects have ceased. A number of events justified application of this provision in 2011, leading to 17 sample results (eight of which were failing results) being disregarded and later replaced.
The 2006 Bathing Waters Directive (a revision of the current directive) means that bathing waters will have to comply with stricter microbiological parameters by 2015 with monitoring starting by 2012.
Email: Sandy McPhee
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