Essex: Beaches Gain Blue Flag Awards

An increasing number of England's beaches have gained Blue Flag awards this year, including many in Essex.

An increasing number of England's beaches have gained Blue Flag awards this year, including many in Essex.

Keep Britain Tidy hands out the awards every year to beaches that are clean, have great facilities and are safe.

For 2012, a total of 79 English beaches have received Blue Flag awards - nine more than in 2011.

This means that England is ranked in the world's top 10 countries for having the most Blue Flag beaches out of the 46 countries taking part in the scheme.

The area with the most Blue Flags this year is Thanet in Kent, with nine, followed by Torbay in Devon with five and Cornwall, also with five.

In Essex Dovercourt Bay, Brightlingsea Beach, and Martello Bay Clacton, which are all managed by Tendring District Council, retained their awards from last year.

Three Shells Beach, Shoebury Common Beach, and Shoeburyness East Beach, which all come under Southend Borough Council, have be rewarded the status from last year.

However Chalkwell Beach, Jubilee Beach in Southend have not be given an award this year.

Keep Britain Tidy said the tougher water quality standard being introduced in 2013 under the new EU Bathing Water Directive was estimated to be twice as stringent as the current Blue Flag water quality standards.

"We estimate that around 30% of current Blue Flag beaches might not reach the necessary standard,'' said Keep Britain Tidy.

Also, in England, Blue Flag beaches will next year need to provide warnings to beach users when nearby combined sewer overflows discharge, if that discharge could temporarily affect the bathing water quality.

Keep Britain Tidy chief executive Phil Barton said he was thrilled that the number of English beaches with Blue Flag awards had increased this year.

He went on: "Winning beaches along our coastline ensure high standards of excellence for visitors.

"These high standards are testament to the hard work carried out by beach managers throughout the year in order to provide clean and safe beaches for everyone to enjoy, whether you live on the coast or are a visitor.''

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