Heavy rain responsible for Blue Flag loss at Coldingham beach?

Coldingham Beach has lost its international Blue Flag status because recent bathing water samples, taken by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), failed to meet the required top EU Bathing Water Directive standards.

Keep Scotland Beautiful, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Borders Council are all working closely to identify the causes of the water quality breaches.

Coldingham beach has consistently met the top water quality standards and has been awarded the Blue Flag by Scotland’s environment charity Keep Scotland Beautiful for three consecutive years, but three water quality samples taken at Coldingham on June 6 and 18 and July 9, did not meet guideline standards. Two or more failures of the 20 planned samples during the bathing water sampling season (June 1 – September 15) means the Blue Flag must be withdrawn.

However, Coldingham Beach is still on track to meet the mandatory standard of the EU Bathing Water Directive and can carry on flying the Scottish Seaside Award flag even if it has had to have the blue flag removed for the rest of the summer season.

Derek Robertson, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, which administers the Blue Flag in Scotland, said: “Coldingham beach has achieved the prestigious international Blue Flag award for three years, and the much acclaimed Seaside Award for five years. The beach passed 32 strict criteria this year to obtain the Blue Flag but unfortunately the Blue Flag only recognises beaches across the world with the top water quality.

“While we are all bitterly disappointed that the Blue Flag has had to be withdrawn, we are pleased that Coldingham will continue to be actively managed and that Seaside Award standards will be maintained – allowing visitors to access up-to- date information about the water quality. We would urge people to keep visiting the beach, and to check the most recent water quality results on the information boards or online at www.sepa.org.uk.”

Councillor Ron Smith the executive member for planning and environment at Scottish Borders Council, who manage the beach at Coldingham, said: “It is highly likely that these failures can be attributed to the unusually heavy rainfall we have been experiencing over the past couple of months.”