SOUTH Ayrshire's beaches have been given mixed reviews in SEPA's annual report.

The report, released last Thursday, rates the bathing quality of the country's beaches as either 'Excellent', 'Good', 'Sufficient' or 'Poor' with Culzean the only South Ayrshire beach ranked within the top category.

Meanwhile, both Girvan and Prestwick and Heads-of-Ayr beaches were awarded the lowest 'poor' rating, with Troon's South Beach deemed as 'good' for bathing.

Troon Councillor Peter Convery was "very pleased" with the classification given to the beach: "We believe that the rating of Troon beach's water quality is very fair and reasonable, which comes at a good time prior to the town's hosting of The Open in July.

"Troon has one of the safest beaches in Scotland; it is relatively shallow and swimmers do not have to contend with the big waves which are often found at other beaches around the country, which makes the town's beach both adult and child friendly."

It is the aim of SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) for all bathing waters within the country to achieve at least a 'sufficient' classification, with any area not reaching this standard for 5 consecutive years to pro-actively warn the public from bathing in the waters.

Signage will now be displayed at Girvan, Prestwick and Heads-of-Ayr by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and South Ayrshire Council advising people against bathing.

Prestwick Councillor Hugh Hunter said: "As I understand it, SEPA are looking to prioritise this particular coastline in terms of improving water quality in the near future.

"The big problem we do face on Prestwick beach is that the sand is often overtaken by stones and rubble.

Mike Newall. South Ayrshire Council’s Head of Neighbourhood Services, said: “We’re very proud of our beaches in South Ayrshire and welcome the news that four of our bathing water locations have achieved the much stricter standards for water quality.

“It is, of course, concerning that three locations have been classified as ‘poor’. However, we know what the issues are – which are often related to the impact of heavy rainfall – and I’m encouraged by the actions being taken by SEPA and its partners.

“While the classification does mean we need to advise people against bathing in these locations, they are still great places to visit, and even have a paddle, over the summer and we’ll continue to do all we can to support the work underway to improve bathing water quality across South Ayrshire.”

Information and profiles for the individual South Ayrshire beaches are available from SEPA at