As the 2018 bathing water season gets underway the latest report on the quality of South Ayrshire's bathing waters paints a mixed picture. The annual SEPA classifications set out whether water quality alone – not the overall beach environment – is poor, sufficient, good or excellent, and suitable for bathing, based on four years' of monitoring data.
For 2017, Prestwick and Troon South Beach were upgraded from 'sufficient' to 'good', while Maidens retained its 'good' ratings. Girvan maintained its 'sufficient' rating, while Culzean was reclassified from 'good' to 'sufficient'. This means they are suitable for bathing during the official bathing season, which runs from June to September.
Ayr South Beach and the Heads of Ayr were both rated as 'poor' following on from the same rating 12 months ago. Electronic signage is already in place at these two locations, which advise against bathing when the real-time water quality is assessed as 'poor'.
Councillor Ian Cochrane, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and the Environment said, "Thousands of people have been flocking to our beaches in recent weeks and with the summer months just round the corner we're hoping for another busy season.
"While the majority of our beaches meet strict bathing standards we're disappointed at the latest "poor" classification for Ayr South beach, which was mainly due to pollution being washed into the sea from Rivers Ayr, Doon and the Slaphouse Burn. We're working hard with partners at SEPA, Scottish Water, the farming community and other landowners to turn this issue around.
"However, Prestwick was upgraded to 'good' and was recently awarded a Scottish Beach Award for cleanliness, which were also given to Ayr, Maidens and Troon. The work to maintain and enhanced standards is ongoing and I'd urge everyone visiting our coastline to respect their environment and keep our beaches pristine."