BEACHES in Edinburgh and East Lothian were today highlighted for continuing to meet tough standards for bathing water quality despite increasing levels of pollution elsewhere in Scotland.
The Marine Conservation Society’s annual Good Beach Guide of how beaches around the UK are faring showed a fall in the number of beaches in Scotland where the water is classified as safe to swim.
Out of 109 Scottish bathing beaches tested, those judged to have “excellent” water quality fell from 50 in 2011 to 45 last year and 42 now.
Heavy rainfall and flooding was blamed for an increasing amount of bacteria and viruses ending up in bathing water.
But Portobello Central was included in the highest “Recommended” category for excellent water quality, along with Dunbar’s Belhaven beach, Seacliff, Yellowcraig, Broad Sands, Gullane and Longniddry.
Thorntonloch and North Berwick’s Misley Bay and West beaches all met the “Guideline” standard for higher water quality.
And Portobello West, Cramond, Whitesands, Dunbar East, Peffersands, Seton Sands and Fisherrow West all passed the “Mandatory” standard for minimum water quality.
Edinburgh City Council’s environment convener Lesley Hinds welcomed the good grades for the area’s beaches.
She said: “It’s great that these tests have shown we are doing well. There has been a good deal of effort, along with the community, to keep the beaches clean – a lot of clean-ups at Portobello and Cramond as well as regular ongoing work. Hopefully that’s made a difference.
“It’s a bit cold to be going into the water just now, but we know how popular Portobello and Cramond are, both with residents and visitors, and it’s good to know they will be able to enjoy high quality bathing water.”
Four Scottish beaches failed to meet even the minimum bathing quality standard – Lower Largo in Fife, Stonehaven and Greenan and Heads of Ayr on the west coast.
All regions of the UK saw a fall in the number of recommended beaches in the updated Guide.
MCS Scotland programme manager Calum Duncan said action was needed to improve the situation.
He said: “With stricter bathing-water standards from 2015 and summers that appear to be getting wetter, the iconic image of people bathing off golden beaches could be at serious risk.”