Southwold: Joy as beach wins its Blue Flag back

FINE weather has seen tourists flocking to the coast in recent weeks – and now one of our most popular resorts is celebrating a top award for its sun-kissed beach.

Southwold has regained a prestigious Blue Flag after a two-year absence, it will be announced today.

The stretch of beach near the pier was rated as top quality by judges of the award, which is administered by Keep Britain Tidy and run by the Foundation for Environmental Education.

Officials at Waveney District Council, which maintains the beach, will be raising the flag again today to celebrate the achievement.

The beach lost its flag in 2009, when water standards dipped due to poor weather. Blue Flags are judged on water quality, cleanliness, facilities, safety, environmental education and management.

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Sixteen beaches on the east coast have been awarded Blue Flags – up five on last year – while another 16 won the lesser Quality Coast Awards (QCA).

Two beaches in Lowestoft, south and north of Claremont Pier, will again raise Blue Flags while Martello Bay at Clacton, Dovercourt Bay and Brightlingsea Beach also received top honours.

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Sue Allen, Southwold mayor, said: “We’re delighted to have the Blue Flag back.

“It was unfortunate we lost it before as it was uncontrollable but a lot of hard work has gone into achieving this.

“It’s a real fillip for the town and for coastal tourism.”

Those to win QCAs included Southwold Denes, Kessingland, Frinton, Harwich, Clacton West Beach, and Albion Beach and The Naze at Walton.

Phil Barton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “The continuing high standards of these beaches are testament to the hard work carried out by the beach managers throughout the year in order to provide clean and safe beaches.”

Suffolk Coastal District Council no longer applies for Blue Flag status for its beaches, including at Aldeburgh and Felixstowe, because of the costs involved in the process. It said it prefers to decide itself how to spend money on improvements and maintenance to beaches.

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