98% of Scottish bathing waters continue to meet environmental standards

The bathing water classification at Coldingham was rated excellent. Credit: Keep Scotland Beautiful

In Scotland 98% of bathing waters have met environmental standards with 84% being graded good or excellent.

Sampling and analysis was carried out by Scotland's environment regulator over the summer.

What are the classifications for 2024?

  • 38 (43%) Excellent 

  • 37 (42%) Good 

  • 12 (13%) Sufficient

  • 2 (2%) Poor 

Ruth Stidson, SEPA’s Principal Scientist for bathing waters, said: “Scotland started this bathing water season with more bathing waters than ever and a record-breaking number rated excellent. I’m delighted to say we’ll start next year just as strongly.

“Our bathing waters have the best water quality since 2015, when tighter standards first came into force. We now have an additional five designated bathing waters where we monitor water quality to protect human health. Over this time those with the highest excellent classification has increased from 17 to 38, and the number with a poor classification has fallen from 17 to two.

“Being outdoors can provide many physical and mental health benefits. Our beaches offer opportunities for physical activities and social interaction and earlier this year I saw personally how much having a designated bathing water meant to the local community at Wardie Bay.

“SEPA’s monitoring data has provided crucial evidence to drive millions in investment and we’ve worked with businesses, farmers and land managers across the country to help them understand how they can make changes to protect water quality. All these successes show that, while it can take time to see big improvements, they are possible – and SEPA will keep monitoring, reporting, enforcing, encouraging and challenging for the future of our water environment.”

What about our region?


  • Brighouse Bay - Good

  • Carrick - Good

  • Dhoon Bay - Sufficient

  • Mossyard - Excellent

  • Rockcliffe - Good

  • Sandyhills - Good

  • Southerness - Good

South East Scotland:

  • Broad Sands - Good

  • Coldingham - Excellent

  • Dunbar (Belhaven) - Good

  • Dunbar (East) - Good

  • Yellow Craig - Sufficient

  • Eyemouth - Sufficient

  • Gullane - Excellent

  • Longniddry - Good

  • North Berwick (Milsey Bay) - Sufficient

  • North Berwick (West) - Excellent

  • Pease Bay - Excellent

  • Seacliff - Excellent

  • Seton Sands - Good

  • Thorntonloch - Excellent

  • Whitesands - Excellent

Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan said: “Scotland now has the highest number of designated Bathing Water sites ever, with the vast majority classified as good or excellent.

"This demonstrates the benefits of our continued investment in protecting and improving bathing waters across the country. However we are not complacent and will continue to work closely with SEPA and Scottish Water to monitor and improve water quality, to make sure that as many people as possible are able to enjoy them.”

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