Beaches fail to gain Blue Flags in latest awards

26/2/09- Pett Level Beach'Photo by Steve Hunnisett
26/2/09- Pett Level Beach'Photo by Steve Hunnisett

BEACHES along the Rye coast have been left out in the cold as prestigious Blue Flags were handed out.

Our beaches even missed out on the less prestigious Seaside Awards, which are also given out by the Keep Britain Tidy group.

Beaches at Hastings and Bexhill also failed to feature as Thanet and the Isle of Wight swept the board in the South East.

The Isle of Wight boasts the highest number of flags in total with four Blue Flags and 13 Seaside Awards.

There are a total of 147 award-winning beaches across the country.

This year, the Blue Flag entrants had to meet an even stricter water quality standard to qualify for the coveted, globally recognised award .

The organisers say it is a testament to the fantastic work being done to improve water quality around our coast that 55 beaches will still be flying a Blue Flag this summer. In addition, 113 coastal resorts picked up a new Seaside Award.

Richard McIlwain, operations director of the Keep Britain Tidy charity, said: “It is fantastic news for everyone who loves visiting the seaside that 41 places in the South East will be flying a flag that guarantees the public the best facilities and the cleanest beaches this summer.

“Keep Britain Tidy campaigns 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.

“Holiday-makers 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.”

Blue Flag beaches now have 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.