Thanet's Beaches Come Top

Keep Britain tidy has awarded Kent eight Blue Flags for its beaches, all of them in Thanet.

The beaches from Minnis Bay in Birchington round the coast to Stone Bay at Broadstairs have all met tough new EU standards for water quality and facilities. Either other beaches in Kent were also awarded Seaside Awards for cleanliness.

In total, 55 beaches across England were awarded Blue Flags for 2013, which is is down on the 79-beach total for last year but beaches this year were subject to much tougher standards.

They had to meet a new "excellent'' standard required under the new EU Bathing Waters Directive.

Beaches also had to provide information to beach users advising where they can obtain real time information on discharges from nearby combined sewage overflows, if that discharge could temporarily affect the bathing water quality.

Keep Britain Tidy operations director Richard McIlwain said: "It is fantastic news for everyone who loves visiting the seaside that so many beaches' places will be flying a flag that guarantees the public the best facilities and the cleanest beaches this summer.''

He went on:  "We campaign to improve the quality of our local environment and we know that communities up and down the country love their beaches and understand what an asset they are for their towns' economies.

"We also know that cleaner beaches can be a focal point for stronger communities. Holidaymakers and daytrippers want to visit clean, safe beaches and the sight of the Blue Flag or Seaside Award flying gives them the reassurance that they will.''

In Kent, Blue Flags were awarded to Botany Bay, Joss Bay, Westbrook Bay, Minnis Bay, St Mildred's Bay, West Bay in Westgate, Margate Main Sands and Stone Bay. 

Seaside Awards went to  Herne Bay, Tankerton, Reculver, Beach Street in Sheerness, Leysdown Beach, Minster Leas, Viking Bay in Broadstairs and Ramsgate Main sands.