Value of bathing waters and influence of bathing water quality: literature review

Research aimed to provide socio-economic understanding of the value of Scottish bathing waters and the influence of bathing water quality (BWQ) to bathers, beach users and to the national and local economies.


Collingwood Environmental Planning Limited ( CEP) in association with Economics for the Environment Consultancy (eftec) have been commissioned by the Scottish Government to undertake a research project to improve the empirical knowledge base concerning the value of bathing waters in Scotland and the influence of bathing water quality ( BWQ) on this. The study is focussed on several strands of primary research activity including an on-site survey of beach users and focus groups at five case study designated bathing water sites and a wider online survey.

Prior to the primary research, a desk study phase has been undertaken to identify and build on existing knowledge, research and practice concerning bathing water values and valuation in Scotland, the wider UK and other similar contexts ( e.g. northwest Europe), the influence of BWQ on this and other issues including the range of benefits ( e.g. economic, health and wellbeing) derived from bathing waters, the factors that can influence peoples' choice of bathing water and the influence of BWQ signs and signage on these choices.

This draft literature review report documents the results of the desk study phase. The key purpose of the report is to inform the scope of the primary research phase ( e.g. in terms of the number, type, nature and scope of questions posed in the surveys and focus groups). However, the report should also provide a useful resource for the Scottish Government, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency ( SEPA) and other bathing water stakeholders in Scotland by setting out the current state of knowledge in terms of the research questions addressed.

Part 2 of this document describes the approach adopted in the literature review including the research questions and sub-research questions addressed ( Table 2.1). The remainder of this document (Parts 3 – 7) then presents the results of the desk study, organised by research question.


Back to top