More than 400 sewage dumps took place in vicinity of Scotland's best beaches last year

More than 400 sewage dumps took place in the vicinity of some of Scotland’s best beaches last year.

Figures revealed by the Scottish Liberal Democrats show sewage was discharged for a “staggering” 483 hours near Peterhead Lido, totalling 337 separate sewage dumps onto the beach. There were also spills at St Andrews, Nairn and Fraserburgh.

The party’s leader Alex Cole-Hamilton challenged First Minister Humza Yousaf over “how many swimming pools of poo” he is content to see pumped onto beaches.

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Mr Yousaf said it was a “serious issue” and he would raise it personally with Scottish Water.

Alex Cole-HamiltonAlex Cole-Hamilton
Alex Cole-Hamilton

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament chamber, Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “Enough to fill 19,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. That’s how much sewage we know was dumped into our rivers last year by Scotland’s government-owned water company. I say know, because only 1 in 20 discharge pipes are actually monitored.

“New Liberal Democrat research that we are publishing today reveals over 400 sewage dumps in the vicinity of some of Scotland’s best beaches last year. From Peterhead to St Andrews, these award-winning beaches should be protected and pristine. They draw tourists, families and wild swimmers.

“Like so many other things on the First Minister’s desk right now, this absolutely stinks.

“So can I ask the First Minister – will he now instruct the monitoring of all sewage discharges in Scotland? What will he do to help Scottish Water get a handle on this? Otherwise, how many swimming pools of poo is he content to see put on our best-loved beaches?”

The Liberal Democrats said that while there are 3,614 overflows in Scotland’s 31,000-mile sewer network, only 144 (4 per cent) are currently monitored. This is in contrast to England, which has 14,470 overflows of which 12,700 are monitored (89 per cent).

Responding to Mr Cole-Hamilton, Mr Yousaf said: “I don’t want to see a single sewage dump where it is absolutely unnecessary. So I will take up the issue personally with Scottish Water. I know my Cabinet Secretary is doing that directly with Scottish Water.

"He is right to absolutely raise the issue. I will look at personally myself, I will raise it personally myself with Scottish Water and come back to the member in due course.”



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