Highlands & Islands

NHS Highland to hold review after Aviemore water complaints

Tap water Image copyright PA

NHS Highland hopes to provide extra reassurance to Scottish Water customers in a part of the Cairngorms about the quality of their water.

People living in and around Aviemore have been raising concerns about the taste and smell of their supply and a petition has been lodged at Holyrood.

NHS Highland said it held a meeting with Scottish Water last week.

The health board said it had agreed to review "additional local health data" to clarify the issue further.

Caroline Hayes, from Kincraig, has lodged the petition at the Scottish Parliament.

It calls on the Scottish government to review the regulation of water quality and commission independent research into the safety of the chloramination of Scottish drinking water.

Scottish Water introduced chloramination, a water treatment process, at Aviemore Water Treatment Works in response to feedback from customers last year.

The company said the process was a "tried and tested" treatment used on water supplied to more than one million customers across Scotland.

But Ms Hayes told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme she does not drink from the water supply, which she describes as having a metallic taste, and buys bottled water instead.

She added: "There are lots of people who have lost trust in the water supply here."

Ms Hayes and other campaigners have been invited to speak at a meeting of Holyrood's petitions committee on 25 May.

'Strict standards'

Dr Ken Oates, of NHS Highland, said the review would be done over the coming weeks.

He said: "This will enable us to determine if the experience of the community in Badenoch and Strathspey is in any way unusual or outwith what would normally be expected in a large population of 10,000 or so people.

"However, from the evidence we already have, I would like to reassure the local population that I have reviewed and discussed the sampling data from this treatment works with national experts and that we have not seen any scientific data which suggests that the water supply to Aviemore and the surrounding area is in any way unsafe to drink, or to bathe in.

"Indeed the opposite is true - that the water is of a high quality and over the past five years has consistently met the strict standards laid down for the water industry in the UK and Scotland."

Peter Farrer, of Scottish Water, said: "Scottish Water is supplying water in Aviemore which continues to be fully compliant with required standards and is safe to use and drink.

"Following discussions with our customers in Badenoch and Strathspey, I gave a commitment to follow up the concerns that had been raised with us about public health issues directly with the consultant in public health medicine at NHS Highland."

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