A government watchdog has warned that water at three Courier Country beaches is so polluted it could put swimmers’ lives at risk.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said that Monifieth, Stonehaven and the Harbour Beach, Kinghorn, had poor bathing waters.
It warned that viruses and bacteria in the sea could cause a serious risk to beach-goers’ health.
Overflowing sewage and animal faeces were the primary causes behind the prediction that 21 beaches across Scotland would fail to meet tough new European water quality standards.
Andy Cummins, from the group Surfers Against Sewage, said urgent action is needed to make the beaches safe. “Those beaches that fail urgently need to adopt new actions and measures to ensure water quality is safe for the public,” he said.
Other Courier Country beaches, including Carnoustie and East Sands in St Andrews, were rated as having sufficient water quality. Leven, Black Sands in Aberdour, and Seafield in Kirkcaldy are also reported to have sufficient water quality.
A total of six Courier Country beaches have excellent water quality, according to Sepa’s study. Broughty Ferry, Montrose, Roome Bay in Crail, Billow Ness near Anstruther, Ruby Bay in Elie and Kingsbarns all recorded a top rating.
Calum McPhail, Sepa’s environmental quality manager, said: “The predicted classifications were only ‘initial estimates’.
“We expect further improvement this year, but some bathing waters are still likely to reach the ‘sufficient’ classification.”
This is the first year that new European Union rules on bathing water standards come fully into force since they were introduced in 2006.
Under the laws, Scotland’s 84 officially designated bathing waters must be tested every four years for human and animal waste, e-Coli and intestinal bacteria.
Exposure can cause infections in ears, nose throat and stomach and, in some cases, can be fatal.