AN app providing real-time updates on the cleanliness of beach waters

is to cover Scotland for the first time.

Created by environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage, the Safer Seas Service aims to help swimmers, beach-goers and water sports enthusiasts to stick to cleaner tides this summer.

READ MORE: Pressure on Sepa to tackle pollution in Scotland’s waters

Launching today after a redevelopment, the smartphone app covers more than 350 locations across the UK and also covers surf and tide conditions for each place, as well as information on facilities and dog restrictions.

Last year – before Scottish sites were added – it issued alerts for more than 2000 sewer overflow spills and 1600 pollution risks.

Hugo Tagholm, who heads Surfers Against Sewage, said: “We’re delighted to be expanding our coverage across all nations and bringing Scottish beaches into the service for the first time.”

He went on: “The Safer Seas Service provides free water quality and beach safety information for hundreds of locations nationwide. Our unique app ensures that all beach users can keep up to date with the latest changes in water quality, which can sometimes fluctuate dramatically during periods of heavy rainfall.

“The Safer Seas Service also includes advice to help subscribers engage with environmental campaigns to protect our ocean and contribute to the ongoing evidence to ensure water companies are investing their profits in better protecting our precious beaches.”

The launch comes as the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) prepares to restart its live information service for the summer season. Also available via a smartphone app and online, the monitoring service covers 30

coastal sites from June to


The agency says “much work has been done to reduce run-off from farms” into rivers and streams near bathing waters, but “short-lived pollution” can occur during or after “substantial” rainfall.

As many as 75 of the 90-odd seaside swimming spots tested by Sepa at the end of the 2018 bathing season passed strict environmental tests set out under European rules.

They include Gullane in East Lothian, Kingsbarns in Fife and Balmedie in Aberdeenshire, all of which were rated excellent.

Only 11 areas failed to meet the required standards, including Brighouse Bay in Dumfries and Galloway, Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders and Irvine in North Ayrshire.