Irvine's beach water has been ranked among the worst in Scotland.

The water quality at Irvine’s popular beach front received a poor rating from the Scottish Government’s environmental watchdog, joining Ayr South Beach and Heads of Ayr among the bottom ranking in the West of Scotland.

Irvine's bathing water ranking dropped from its previous ‘sufficient’ rating the same day the town’s tidy beach front secured its Keep Scotland Beautiful award on May 31.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) highlight combined sewer overflows and diffuse pollution – where nutrients, soil, chemicals and faecal bacteria can be washed from land into the water as the main factors for a poor rating.

However SEPA advise swimmers that a poor rating doesn’t mean water is continually unsafe and advise visitors to check live electronic signage for updates.

A spokesperson said: “Every day SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment.

“Whilst it’s great news that more bathing waters continue to meet the new tighter water quality standards that came into force in 2015, SEPA is firmly focused on working with partners at all beaches, including Irvine, where we hope to see further improvements in water quality in the coming months and years.

“It is important to remember that a ‘poor’ classification does not necessarily mean that water quality is continually poor on all days. Beach users benefit from access to real time water quality forecasts, and live information on any pollution incidents at, via SEPA’s Beachline on 08452 30 30 98 or at 31 live electronic signs on beach locations including Irvine.”