Value of bathing waters and influence of bathing water quality: research findings

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.

Recommendations for bathing water management

Prioritisation of management / investment. There is an argument for prioritisation of beach / BWQ management intervention and investment towards the types of activity people are most interested in undertaking on the beach / at the bathing water site (e.g. ensuring adequate provision of dog waste bins).

Managing pressures on bathing waters / the marine environment. Evidence from the focus groups suggests that members of the public have some concerns about the impact of development (as a pressure) on BWQ. These are legitimate concerns and development should be managed sensitively to ensure that BWQ (and other aspects of the water environment) are not adversely affected.

Improvements to BWQ information. Results from both surveys suggest that awareness of bathing water designation is low and that there is limited concern about BWQ and permanent advice against bathing, mainly because respondents don’t go in the water anyway. There may be a case for more targeted BWQ information towards the smaller proportion of bathing water users / user groups who do go in the water. This could include awareness raising activities aimed at ‘active user’ groups such as surfers about the health risks associated with on-water immersive / non-immersive activities in poor BWQ.


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