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Language: English / Gàidhlig


Seòmar agus comataidhean

Question reference: S6W-17874

  • Date lodged: 12 May 2023
  • Current status: Answered by Mairi McAllan on 14 June 2023


To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to concerns by the Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland regarding barriers to gaining bathing water status at Scotland’s rivers, lochs and beaches due to newly introduced requirements, including the need to gain the consent of landowners and local authorities, hold a local consultation and submit aerial photography or drone footage of the site, which may make it difficult to obtain the protections that come with official designation.


Under the Bathing Water (Scotland) Regulations 2008, Scottish Ministers designate bathing waters where they expect a large number of people to bathe, having regard to past trends and infrastructure and facilities provided, or other measures taken to promote bathing. Scottish Ministers have historically asked for information on past usage trends (user surveys and photographs), evidence of relevant infrastructure and facilities and evidence of support from local authorities and land owners in order to consider whether a large number of bathers is expected at a surface water area. Recent proposals have also been voluntarily accompanied by local consultations as an indication of local support.

SEPA’s bathing water guidance has recently been updated to require landowner and local authority letters of support, evidence of local consultation and either aerial or drone footage to be provided alongside a bathing water application. This formalises the process which has been routinely followed by groups submitting proposals, and provides further clarity on the information needed to support Scottish Minister’s decisions under the Regulations.