With the weather warming up and the British instinct for heading to the beach this year, our coastline is the place to be, with 143 English beaches flying a Blue Flag or Seaside Award, after environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy announced this year’s winning beaches.
For the first time ever, one of Blackpool’s beaches – South Beach – has made the grade. Two more iconic seaside destinations, Brighton Central beach and Hove Lawns, will be joining other south coast winners which are proudly flying the flag.
68 beaches across England will be displaying an international Blue Flag Award – an increase of seven this year – and 111 beaches have been given the Seaside Award.
Clean and safe
Both awards are the quality marks for our beaches and mean those visiting them can be sure that they are clean and safe and meet the highest environmental standards, as well as the tough bathing water quality standards.
The increasing number of Blue Flags is fantastic news for all those who have worked hard to improve our seas and beaches, including local authorities, water companies and local businesses and communities.
Cornwall claims the most awards with a grand total of 19 (11 Seaside Awards and eight Blue Flags), closely followed by Torbay with 13 awards (ten Seaside Awards and three Blue Flags), Thanet with ten awards (seven Blue Flag Awards and three Seaside Awards) and Tendring with ten awards (three Blue Flag and seven Seaside Awards).
Keep Britain Tidy’s Coastal Award Manager Paul Todd said: “It’s great that we’re able to award more beaches this year with Blue Flag and Seaside Awards.
“Keep Britain Tidy works with people and organisations who share our vision that everyone should have access to quality outdoor spaces where they live, work and holiday.
“The fact that so many beaches will be flying a Blue Flag or Seaside Award this summer is testament to the continuing hard work of everyone involved. They know that quality beaches are great for the local communities, visitors and local businesses.
“Visitors can be sure that a Blue Flag or Seaside Award-winning beach is one of the best in the world.”
The Marine Conservation Society is also working hard to turn the tide on pollution. There’s rubbish on our beaches and pollution in our seas. Agricultural and urban run-off, storm waters, misconnected plumbing and dog faeces often end up in the seas we swim in – whilst our passion for plastic is leaving a legacy of litter on our beaches including cotton bud sticks, drinks bottles and plastic bags.
Litter and sewage pollution is not only an eyesore but is also a danger to the amazing wildlife in our seas and on our beaches. Action needs to be taken NOW to reduce litter levels on our beaches by half by 2020 and to see a drop in sewage pollution.
Every year Keep Britain Tidy works with thousands of volunteers across the UK to monitor the litter on our beaches through the Beachwatch programme. Using the data collected from surveys, they work on areas of particular concern, such as plastic bags and balloon and lantern releases.
They also report on the state of our bathing waters through the Good Beach Guide and encourage water companies, local authorities and regulators to work together to improve bathing water quality.
So be aware when you go to the beach how much work goes into keeping our beaches and bathing waters safe and clean. And do your best to keep them this way.
The Blue Flag and Seaside Awards for 2016 recognises and rewards beaches in England that achieve the highest standards of beach management and, in the case of bathing beaches, meet the required standards for water quality.
For further information about volunteering for the BeachCare programme, please contact Helen Waine 01942 612628 firstname.lastname@example.org