Determining the 2020 bathing season in light of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic

Closed 29 May 2020

Opened 15 May 2020

Overview

The aim of the Bathing Waters (Scotland) Regulations 2008 is to protect public health, by monitoring water quality at locations popular with large numbers of bathers; providing public information on that water quality; and taking steps to improve water quality where the necessary standards are not met.

The Bathing Waters (Scotland) Regulations 2008 require that Scotland’s most popular beaches (86 in 2019) are designated each year by Scottish Ministers, along with the period of the bathing water season, based on when they “expect a large number of people” to bathe at those locations.

Scottish Ministers consider that the restrictions on movement and physical distancing guidance need to be taken into account this year in determining whether we “expect a large number of people” in our bathing waters during the normal 1 June -15 September bathing water season.

Why We Are Consulting

The Bathing Waters (Scotland) Regulations 2008 require that Scottish Ministers must consult with the public and relevant public bodies about any proposed change in the period of the bathing water season, and take due account of the results.

In light of Scotland’s continuing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Scottish Ministers are proposing to postpone the determination of the bathing season for 2020 and the designation of any bathing waters. The matter will then be kept under review throughout the summer months in line with the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 framework for decision making.

It should be understood that postponing the determination of the bathing water season does not imply that beaches are closed. They would remain open for individuals to enjoy their daily exercise in line with the current restrictions in the Coronavirus Regulations.

Read the consultation paper.

What Happens Next

Following this consultation Scottish Ministers will take into account the views expressed in making their decision whether to postpone the determination of the bathing season for 2020 and the designation of any bathing waters. A breakdown of responses and how they were addressed will be published.

Interests

  • Environment and Climate Change
  • Health and Social Care