Life's a beach, enjoy!

More than 30 Scottish beaches achieved “excellent” rating as they met tough EU standards, according to a report published yesterday.

Portobello (Central), Cullen Bay and Longniddry have been named as top quality locations in the European Environment Agency's annual report, along with other Scottish sites.

Commenting on the report SNP MEP Alyn Smith said:

"I want to see all of Scotland's beaches come up to the high standards that the excellent, top rated holiday spots reach. 

“Crucially, 97.6% of all Scotland’s bathing waters met the criteria for the 2013 summer season, thanks to the efforts of Scottish Government and Scottish Environment Protection Agency, which provides real-time bathing water quality prediction. We should recognise that success as well as looking to improve where we've fallen a little behind.”

Smith said:

 “Scotland’s changeable weather patterns and heavy summer rains can have a negative impact on water quality.  We want beaches where people can swim and enjoy an active outdoor life and, in order to improve our environment and our beaches, we have to monitor them and be vigilant. 

“Scotland is known for stunning coastline and picturesque beaches and the waters off them are an asset for us in trying to sell Scotland as a destination. Bathing water standards are there to protect us and we want Scots and visitors to Scotland to have clean beaches to enjoy across the country.”

The highest proportions of non-compliant bathing sites were in Belgium (12 %), the Netherlands (7 %) and the United Kingdom (6 %). Some of these beaches had to be closed during the 2012 season.  Scotland's figure was a 2.4% failure rate.