Bute beach passes European quality test

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Bute’s most popular beach has met mandatory European water quality standards for the third year running.

Despite the wet summer weather, only one of 20 samples taken at Ettrick Bay between May 31 and the end of the Scottish bathing water testing season on September 15 failed to meet the required standard.

Under new rules for measuring the quality of the water at Scotland’s bathing beaches, the failed sample - taken on August 27 - will not count towards Ettrick Bay’s overall water compliance record.

As a result of heavy rain in the days leading up to the August 27 test, electronic signs put up at the bay by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency correctly predicted poor water quality and advised against bathing in the water on that day.

The bay has now met mandatory standards set down by the European Commission for the third year in a row - the first time such a run of success has been recorded since water quality measurements at the beach began in 1999.

Problems caused by agricultural run-off from surrounding farms led to Ettrick Bay failing to meet quality standards from 1999 to 2004, and again from 2007 to 2009.

In spite of the dismal weather experienced in many parts of Scotland this summer, only two of the country’s officially designated bathing beaches - Stonehaven and Heads of Ayr - failed to meet the mandatory European standard.