Beaches flying the flag in East Anglia
BEACHES in East Anglia are as good as those in top tourist destinations in Europe. Fourteen beaches across the region have scooped the acclaimed European Blue Flag award for having spotless, litter free sands, the cleanest possible water and brilliant facilities.
By Jonathan Barnes
BEACHES in East Anglia are as good as those in top tourist destinations in Europe.
Fourteen beaches across the region have scooped the acclaimed European Blue Flag award for having spotless, litter free sands, the cleanest possible water and brilliant facilities.
Brightlingsea and Great Yarmouth Central have scooped the award for the first time ever. Norfolk has six awards in total with Essex and Suffolk flying four flags a piece this year. But Southend Three Shells is losing out this year after winning an award last year but this year's tally still rises from thirteen last year.
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The south beach at Felixstowe has retained its Blue Flag for the fifth consecutive year.
John Perry, cabinet member for the economy and tourism at Suffolk Coastal District Council, said: "It is excellent news for Felixstowe that the south beach has again won this much sought-after official stamp of approval.
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"What is also good news is that the Dip at Felixstowe has again won the prestigious Rural Beaches Award for beach cleanliness and water quality, which means that visitors and residents to the resort are officially guaranteed good facilities, good quality beaches and safe bathing water."
Beaches north and south of the pier at Lowestoft and at Southwold Pier also retained their Blue Flags.
A spokesman for Waveney District Council, which maintains those beaches, said: "We are delighted to consistently be awarded these Blue Flags.
"Our beaches are an important part of our tourism appeal and we are rightly proud of them and the people whose hard works goes to clean them and the surrounding areas."
Tendring District Council leader Terry Allen said: "We worked hard at Dovercourt to retain the Blue Flag as we wanted to make sure we got it back again.
"But the biggest news for us is Brightlingsea which came from a rural to a resort beach. This will be a great boost to Brightlingsea – it is just the icing on the cake for them.
"Tourism is a major economy for Tendring and over the years we have taken a few knocks but we are coming back and now we are on run and things are improving."
"Eventually we want Blue Flags flying across the whole Tendring peninsula," he said..
The Blue Flag awards are organised in the UK by ENCAMS (who also run the Keep Britain Tidy campaign). Water quality, which is tested by the Environment Agency, has to meet the highest guideline standards laid out in European law.
The beach must be free of litter and impose a dog ban during the summer months. Facilities have to be excellent and cater for families as well as the disabled. Also safety is paramount and a lifeguard must be on duty at peak times.
"This truly is excellent news for the region. Whilst millions already flock to our historic towns and beautiful countryside, we have even more to offer the discerning visitor now," said Nigel Tansley-Thomas, Regional Director of ENCAMS.
The flag is recognised by over 90% of the public across Europe, as the definitive symbol of a great beach to visit.