Bathing water at Stonehaven beach is expected to meet European standards after being classed as ‘good’ in the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (SEPA) report for the 2016 season.
This is a big improvement for Stonehaven bay, as it received a ‘poor’ grading in an interim report for the 2015 season.
SEPA have said that it expects that 72 of the 84 designated bathing waters across Scotland will meet the European water quality standards when confirmed classifications are issued by the EU in spring 2017.
Stonehaven is among 36 classed as ‘good’. 26 will be rated as ‘excellent’, while 10 have received the ‘sufficient’ standard and 12 have been rated as ‘poor’.
A statement from SEPA said: “Better bathing water quality has been seen across Scotland this year.
The number of bathing waters predicted to achieve the highest ‘excellent’ classification has increased by 53% since last season. In addition to this, overall five more bathing waters are expected to meet the EU water quality class standards than last season.
“Tailored improvement plans, prepared by SEPA reflecting collaboration with its partners, are under way at bathing waters with a ‘poor’ classification to help all designated bathing waters across Scotland meet the required standards by 2020.”
This is the second bathing water season under the much stricter water quality standards of the new Bathing Water Directive.
Classifications are calculated based on four years of monitoring data, and take the overall number of bacteria into account over this period, to give a more consistent picture of water quality condition when assigning the status of a bathing water area.
The area in Stonehaven that was tested is bound by the outflow of the River Carron and the harbour area jetty to the south.
It was designated as bathing water in 1999, but has been monitored since the 1980s.