Beaches across Tayside and Fife are on track to improve their bathing water quality standards by 2017 but two remain “poor”.
Montrose, Anstruther and Elie (harbour) beaches are expected to go from a “good” to an “excellent” SEPA rating in spring next year.
The East Sands beach in St Andrews is set to jump up two levels, from “sufficient” to “excellent” and Leven beach is on track to go from “sufficient” to “good”.
Dundee’s Broughty Ferry beach will retain its “excellent” score if no drastic changes take place.
But it’s not all good news, with Monifieth and Kinghorn’s harbour beaches unable to shake off their “poor” ratings.
John Alexander convener of Dundee City Council’s neighbourhood services committee said: “We are fortunate in the city to have such a well-loved and well-used beach in Broughty Ferry within easy reach of lots of people to use for leisure and pleasure.”
The ratings system drew criticism from Monifieth’s Eco Force group, which organises regular beach cleans.
Chairman Alex Graham said: “We have been trying to keep the beach clean.
“The council have changed the course of the stream that used to come out on to Monifieth beach.
“I think that the measuring system is unfair, it has been more stringent than before.”
John Wincott, Fife Council’s spokesperson for environment and transportation, said that there is ongoing work to improve the water quality at Kinghorn harbour.
He added: “It’s really good news that Fife has once again improved the scores for almost all our beaches, and that most of them are either good or excellent.
“Given that the judging criteria has become even tighter recently, this is a particularly rewarding achievement for everyone involved.
“The situation at Kinghorn harbour is that Kinghorn burn, that feeds into the area, has had some pollution in the past, and that there has also been some run-off from local agricultural land.
“I know that work is ongoing to reduce or eliminate these issues, and hopefully this will feed through into future assessments.”
SEPA 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.
Tailored improvement plans prepared by the environmental agency are underway to target bathing waters with a ‘poor’ classification to help all designated bathing waters across Scotland meet the required standards by 2020.
Calum McPhail, from SEPA’s Environmental Quality Unit, said: “We understand that some local communities will be disappointed, as we are, that there are bathing waters which are expected to be rated as having a ‘poor’ EU classification.
“We would like to remind the public that a ‘poor’ classification does not necessarily mean that water quality is continually poor, and that these are still fantastic beaches to visit.”