A bay which was at risk of losing its bathing water status has managed to achieve a 'sufficient' rating after four consecutive years of being marked as 'poor'. 

Following work to improve the conditions, Dhoon Bay near Kirkcudbright has managed to avoid losing its designated status. 

The Scottish Environment and Protection Agency (Sepa) has announced Scotland's bathing water quality has continued to improve across the country this year as the season comes to a close. 

A record number of official bathing waters have been rated as 'excellent' for 2023, with 38 out of 87 locations receiving the top qualification. 

Environment minister Mairi McAllan said: “Scotland's bathing waters are not only important to our environment, they provide spaces for recreation and contribute to good health and well-being. That’s why it’s so great to see more bathing waters across the country rated excellent than ever before.

“The number of bathing waters in Scotland has increased since last year and now stands at 87, with 98% achieving the bathing water quality standards."

READ MORE: Bay with worst bathing water quality in Scotland risks losing status

Scotland also has two newly designated bathing waters - Barassie in Ayrshire achieved a ‘sufficient’ classification, while Lower Largo, in Fife, will be rated as 'poor' for the 2023 season. 

At the start of the summer, Sepa described 2022 as a "key year" for Dhoon Bay with targeted improvement actions taking place. 

With the help of Scottish Government funding, steps were taken to treat private sewage as well as minimise run-off from nearby agricultural land.

Further work will take place to continue to rise the standards at the beach.

However, another beach has dropped to a 'poor' rating for 2023. Kinghorn (harbour beach) in Fife fell from a 'sufficient' classification in 2019 and 2021, with Sepa promising to carry out further investigations at the beach. 

Ruth Stidson, SEPA’s Principal Scientist for Bathing Waters, said: “Seeing the long-term bathing water quality improvements reflected in this year’s results demonstrates that the sustained hard work by public bodies, private businesses and communities has made a real improvement across Scotland.

“More of our bathing waters will be rated ‘excellent’ than ever before and, overall, 98% are meeting strict environmental standards.

"We have the largest number of designated bathing waters on record which is good news for the increasing popularity of wild swimming and the communities, businesses and visitors who enjoy our coastlines."

She added that Sepa will continue to work to improve water quality.

"We will use our expertise to provide advice and guidance, recommend actions and – when it is appropriate to do so - take robust enforcement action,” she added.