Kent's Award-Winning Beaches

Kent is celebrating after 16 of its beaches were recognised for cleanliness, safety and great facilities in the annual Keep Britain Tidy awards.

Three beaches, all in Thanet, have been awarded the internationally recognised Blue Flag, which is only handed out to those which have achieved the highest quality in water, facilities, safety, environmental education and management.

They are Botany Bay and Joss Bay in Broadstairs, and Westbrook Bay in Margate which have all received Blue Flags twice before.

Thirteen others across the county have been given Quality Coast Awards, which rewards beaches that achieve the highest standards of beach management.

To achieve this, beaches must meet strict criteria, including clean sands, being free of litter and dog fouling, having good access and facilities and guideline water quality.

Herne Bay, Reculver, Tankerton, Dymchurch, Beach Street at Sheerness, Leysdown Beach, Margate Main Sands, Minnis Bay, Ramgsgate Main Sands, St Mildreds Bay, Stone Bay, West Bay, Viking Bay Broadstairs all met those standards.

Despite picking up one of the highest number of beach awards in the south east, there has been disappointment for Thanet, which has seen six of its beaches lose their Blue Flag status from last year following poor water quality results during the summer 2010 season.

Commercial Services Manager, Mark Seed: "There’s no denying that it’s a real shame that we haven’t been able to achieve more Blue Flag awards this year, especially as historically we’ve done so well in the past.

"Obviously it’s disappointing that minor problems with water quality last year affected our Blue Flag assessment and that’s the reason that we’ve lost a number for this season. The problems all seem to be down to freak weather conditions last year and as the results show, it’s the first time for many years that we’ve been affected in this way."