Kinghorn Harbour Beach: From Most Polluted to Award Winning in Less than 6 Months.

Fife beach bounces back in less than 6 months of being named the UK’s dirtiest beach in a report by Save On Energy last June.

Kinghorn Harbour beach on the east coast of Fife has struggled for years with water pollution from surrounding harbours, nearby sewage treatment plants and general transit pollution on the Firth of Forth. The small beach was criticised back in 2019 by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) for having exceeded its sewage pollution limit and being in the poor water qualification for the 4 years prior.

However, in 2019 Scottish Water planned to invest an estimated £700,000 into upgrading sewer systems and pumping stations at Kinghorn alone to try and prevent sewage overflows especially during periods of heavy rain. Along with the investments by Scottish Water, the Scottish Government funded the My Beach, Your Beach Campaign led by Keep Scotland Beautiful which looks to encourage the community and beach visitors to keep beaches clean by reducing pollution from littering, dogs and gulls. This campaign was also introduced at other Scottish beaches such as Portobello, Saltcoats, Ayr, Troon and Irvine.

However, even with all the upgrades and campaigns introduced, Kinghorn Harbour was still named in a report by Save On Energy in early 2021 as the dirtiest beach in the UK. With an overall rating of 0.1 out of 100 based upon Government readings of E. coli and Intestinal Enterococci in coastal waters.

By the end of 2021, Kinghorn had their lowest recorded water pollution in 5 years due to the upgrades completed by Scottish Water and by the community participation in the My Beach, Your Beach Campaign. Keep Scotland Beautiful awarded the holiday beach town an award for meeting all criteria for a safe and environmentally conscious beach.

It seems almost unbelievable how quickly Kinghorn Beach were able to shake off its tag as the UK’s dirtiest beach, with all the campaigns, initiatives and quick turn around I asked local residents how they felt about the ordeal and why they loved Kinghorn beach.

Memories. I used to come here all the time in the 70’s, and we just loved the place. Yeah there was a heatwave in 1976, we used to all meet up over there and sunbathe, just loved it the sunshine and all.

Local man Tom, discussed why he loved Kinghorn beach

I just love the atmosphere. The sound of the waves, I came from a town that had a beach, I’ve always lived by the sea, and I wouldn’t like to live anywhere else really. 

With the backdrop of Edinburgh as well how much better does it get.

It’s friendly, the weathers not too bad, most of the time, and the fact that I can actually see dolphins and whales from my window. 

It’s a really strong community for getting things done, there’s lots of groups of people who are involved with certain parts of the town that wouldn’t put up with it if there was a problem.

On days like this it’s just wonderful isn’t it 

Longterm Kinghorn resident Judith Granger comments on the strong sense of community in the village and what she loves about living right on the beach.

I’ve lived here all my life.

I don’t go in the sea anymore, but my grandchildren do, last year we didn’t obviously.

But yeah, it’s just lovely, the whole coast lines lovely.

I very much like living here, I did live abroad a few years ago but that’s when I was young, we came back. 

People in Kinghorn who move away always come back.

I just always think with Kinghorn we were lucky, we have the beach, the loch and the countryside, were just in the centre for everything.

Doreen, a Kinghorn resident discussed why she lives here and why she always returned.

Find out more about more about Kinghorn Harbour Beach with The Beach Guide.

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