Across the UK, compliance with the mandatory microbiological standards set in the 1976 EU bathing water Directive was unchanged at 97.8%. However, there was considerable improvement in meeting the tougher guideline microbiological standards.
In Scotland, compliance with guideline standards leapt from below 40% to 67%, aided by improvements to sewage treatment in the south west and north east.
In England, guideline compliance approached the 75% mark for the first time. There was a particular improvement in the north west, where 18 beaches reached guideline standards, compared with three the previous year.
Wales narrowly failed to equal the 100% mandatory compliance achieved last year, but there was a slight improvement in guideline compliance.