Beaches bask in awards joy
BEACHES in Suffolk and Essex are basking in glory today after scooping a host of seaside awards.Ten beaches in Suffolk and seven in Essex made the grade this year, and will be flying the coveted blue and yellow Seaside Award flag, which is given by ENCAMS, organisers of the Tidy Britain Campaign.
By Sarah Chambers
BEACHES in Suffolk and Essex are basking in glory today after scooping a host of seaside awards.
Ten beaches in Suffolk and seven in Essex made the grade this year, and will be flying the coveted blue and yellow Seaside Award flag, which is given by ENCAMS, organisers of the Tidy Britain Campaign.
Some of the winners - Kessingland, Lowestoft South of Pier, Southwold Pier and Southend Three Shells - have kept the flag flying since the awards started 12 years ago.
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The awards are given to resorts and rural beaches deemed to be well managed. Judges look at a range of issues including first aid provision, toilets, access and facilities for the disabled at each resort.
Flag winners must have achieved EU standards for bathing water quality.
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Other award-winners are Aldeburgh, Felixstowe South, Felixstowe The Dip, Lowestoft North of Pier, Sizewell, Southwold Denes, Thorpeness, Brightlingsea, Clacton West, Dovercourt Bay, Leigh on Sea Bell Wharf, Southend Shoebury Common and Southend Shoeburyness East.
Lowestoft Gunton Denes was not entered this year for safety reasons.
Nigel Tansley-Thomas, Regional Director of ENCAMS, said: “I am absolutely delighted that all the winning beaches have maintained such high standards over the recent years.
“The Seaside Awards are a great boost to our tourism industry at such a crucial time as this.
“And being Easter weekend, what a great excuse to get together with friends and family to visit and enjoy the achievements of some of the longest established holiday resorts in the country and the quiet, secluded beaches where it's peaceful and tranquil.”
Across the UK, 332 beaches received the award this year compared to 317 last year.
Mr Tansley-Thomas said he hoped Lowestoft Gunton Denes, a flag winner last year, would regain the award.
The award organisers said it failed on water quality, but a spokesman for Waveney District Council pointed out that it was not entered this year because they did not want to promote it as a resort beach for safety reasons.
Work is currently being carried out there because sea erosion of the groynes had caused sharp metal to be exposed, he explained. Warning signs had been put up.
The awards for the other Waveney beaches were “the culmination of a lot of hard work by our beach cleaning staff”, he said.
“We are delighted. We see ourselves as a major tourist area and beaches are the jewel in our crown,” he said. “Everybody plays a major part in the Seaside Awards.”
A spokesperson for Suffolk Coastal District Council said: “It is excellent news that once again we have earned the right to fly over five of our district's beaches the prestigious blue and yellow Seaside Award flags that guarantee residents and visitors high standards of cleanliness and water quality."
The three north east Essex winners of Brightlingsea, Dovercourt Bay and West Clacton join three other beaches in Southend and one in Leigh-on-Sea to make up the county's magnificent seven.
Every day during the summer season, the beaches are cleared of glass and other dangerous debris, while wardens ensure safety standards are met and people behave appropriately.
Kevin Harkin, Tendring District Council's acting head of leisure services, said: “It's fantastic news and it's come just at the right time for us with this fabulous weather - we're overjoyed. Our teams of beach, boat and life wardens need to be congratulated.
“More than three million visitors come to the Essex sunshine coast every year and this award gives people reassurances about the water quality, the toilet facilities, the shelters and all the other things you would expect to see in a first class condition.”