Better bathing waters: meeting the challenges of the revised Bathing Water Directive in Scotland

A report by the Scottish Executive Environment Group outlining our bathing water strategy for Scotland.


1. Since the publication of Scotland's Bathing Waters A strategy for improvement in March 2002, there have been many changes to the environment in which bathing waters are operated.

2. At that time, just 85% of Scotland's bathing waters had met European standards in the previous two years. In two of the last three, the compliance rate has been 95%.

3. In 2002, sewage-related pollution was believed to be the major cause of bathing waters' failure to comply with the required standards. Significant investment in modernising Scotland's public sewerage infrastructure has eliminated or reduced many of these risks. Diffuse pollution (run-off from many individual sources), mainly from agriculture, is now believed to be the main risk to compliance.

4. The revision of the European Bathing Waters Directive was in its infancy in 2002. More than five years after the European Commission announced plans to revise the Directive, a revised Bathing Water Directive entered into force on 24 March 2006. This revision requires us to meet stricter bacteriological standards in the future and sets new requirements for the provision of information on water quality to the public, as well as for engaging public participation in matters relating to bathing waters. The revised Directive can be found on the European Commission's website at .

5. This document attempts to address these changes, and to set out a framework for meeting the challenges associated with implementing the revised Bathing Water Directive.



Phone: 0131 244 0205

Environmental Quality Division
Scottish Government
Area 3H (south)
Victoria Quay

Back to top