Wednesday, August 10th, 2016
The Highlands and Islands’ Green MSP John Finnie has spoken out against Scottish Water plans to remove the filtration system from their waste water treatment works at Gairloch, exposing some of the Highland’s best beaches to high quantities of harmful bacteria.
Mr Finnie has lodged a formal objection with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, urging them not to grant permission for the downgrade.
The proposal to replace the current membrane filter system with simple septic tanks would result in bacteria from human waste, such as E. Coli, being pumped into the Loch. Scottish Water’s own studies show that the bacteria would make the waters and beaches unfit for bathing up to 3 kilometres from the outflow – an area that includes the beaches at Gairloch and Big Sand.
Mr Finnie said:
“Big Sand was recently voted the best beach in the Highlands, with Gairloch coming in fourth. These beautiful beaches are well-used by tourists and locals alike for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and other watersports.
“If the proposed downgrade of the sewage works goes ahead, both beaches would be exposed to a volume of dangerous bacteria that would breach the safety limits set for designated bathing areas. This would be particularly unfair given that the community are right now trying to gain designated bathing status for their beaches – this would pre-empt their efforts by spoiling the water before they have a chance to protect it.
“Scottish Water cannot be given permission to endanger the health of bathers, the economy of the community and the quality of life of local people just to save some money. I very much hope that SEPA will recognise the unacceptable cost to the area, and decline this unnecessary and damaging proposal.”