Compliance with the EC Bathing Water Directive (76/160/EEC): 1988-2012
Percentage compliance of coastal bathing waters1
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 2012, 98% of the 80 identified coastal bathing waters achieved the mandatory standard, and 40% 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 can be excluded from consideration if they are the consequence of abnormal situations. If a result is excluded, then a replacement sample is taken immediately after the abnormal effects have ceased.
Under the new directive, bathing waters are assessed over a 4 year period. With the first report due in 2015, this means sampling under the new directive will begin in 2012.
Email: Callum Neil