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Local Environmental Quality

Local Environmental Quality

Award-winning beaches must display sufficient information to the beach user so that they can make an informed choice about bathing. Our awarded beaches include both designated bathing water sites and beaches which are non-designated. Both types must ensure that information on water quality is provided to the public.

To meet the requirements of the Scotland's Beach Awards, all beaches need to meet the following:

Major criteria

  • Information about water quality testing and the classification must be displayed, according to the bathing water designation status of the beach.
    • If a designated bathing water site, the water quality must be 'sufficient' or above, under the revised Bathing Water Directive (2007) classification standards.
    • If a designated bathing water site is classed with 'poor' water quality then the beach is not eligible for an award.
    • If not a designated bathing water site, signage must be in place to inform beach users that water quality monitoring is not in place.


  • The Beach Operator must inform the public of pollution or potential dangers by the posting of information at the information board and through the media if appropriate.


  • The Beach, intertidal area, backshore, dunes and any surrounding areas connected to the beach operation (e.g. carparks, playgrounds and amenity areas) must be predominantly free of litter, graffiti, fly tipping and dog fouling in line with Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (CoPLAR) requirements.

Minor criteria

  • Where dogs are permitted, they must be kept under control within the award area.


  • Where camping is permitted under the Scottish Access Code, the Beach Operator should have adequate measures in place to ensure that camping does not affect award criteria i.e. cleanliness. The Beach Operator should manage unauthorised camping or driving on the beach.

Best Practice

  • Evidence that the interests of any protected sites (SSSIs) and rare or protected species have been addressed in liaison with the designating authority, NatureScot.


  • Adaptation is about adjusting to the impacts of climate change to reduce negative impacts and exploit any opportunities. Evidence that climate change adaptations are in place, or in the planning phase, for the beach and surrounding areas.


  • The Beach Operator should encourage and promote sustainable transport options such as bicycles (which may include provision for bicycle paths/storage) and bus travel (with appropriate timetable information).


  • The Beach Operator should provide adequate recycling facilities, where appropriate, and encourage beach users to recycle their waste.

To meet the requirements of the Scotland's Beach Awards, designated bathing waters must meet all of the above as well as the following:

Major criteria

  • The Beach Operator must highlight waste water discharge points and riverine inputs within one mile of the beach/water to the public.


  • The Beach Operator must manage the conflicting needs of different users as well as local ecosystems, in line with health, safety and environmental plans.

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