New testing season begins at Bute beach

The sun shines down on Ettrick Bay, where a new bathing water testing season is now under way.
The sun shines down on Ettrick Bay, where a new bathing water testing season is now under way.

A new bathing water testing season began at Bute’s most popular beach this week.

But it will be much harder for Ettrick Bay to meet quality standards this year than in the past.

Staff from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency will take 15 samples at the bay - and 83 other designated bathing waters across Scotland - between June 1 and September 15.

This year, however, a new EU directive takes effect under which, at the end of the season, Ettrick Bay’s water quality will be judged either excellent, good, sufficient or poor - based on four years of figures, not just one.

Calum McPhail, SEPA unit manager in environmental quality, said: “Of course we’re hoping for good weather this summer, not just so that we can get out and enjoy our beaches, but also because heavy rain is always the biggest threat to water quality. We all know that Scotland’s weather is unpredictable, which is why work is ongoing in SEPA, and with our partners, to improve water quality across the country.”

You can find Ettrick Bay’s test results at http://tinyurl.com/ettrickbay.