More than 70 beaches across England have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag award this year for meeting “the highest environmental standards” and “international bathing water quality standards.”
The awards, announced by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy on Tuesday (16 May), recognise the quality of the beaches, the way they are managed and the facilities they offer to visitors.
This year 77 beaches have met the high standard required for the Blue Flag international award.
Sandbanks beach in Poole and Oddicombe in Torbay, Devon have won the award every year since it was launched 36 years ago.
Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said the award is “the world’s most recognised” and for beaches to qualify they must “meet and maintain a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety and accessibility criteria”.
The criteria that the beaches are assessed against include:
- Safety and services, such as first aid, lifeguards where necessary
- Environmental information, including displaying details about local ecosystems
- Water quality – Blue Flag beaches must meet the ‘excellent’ water quality standard as set out in the EU bathing water directive.
- Environmental management, including litter and waste.
On the charity’s website it says the awards “are the only way for the public to be assured that beaches are delivering a safe, clean and well-managed space for them”. But it adds that the “natural environment and water quality may vary, particularly after heavy rainfall”.
The Blue Flag awards come after a series of sewage spills across UK beaches this year following heavy rainfall, with the leaks causing outrage among campaigners, MPs and residents.
In March anti-sewage campaign group Surfers Against Sewage advised people to steer clear of a swathe of beaches across the UK due to raw sewage being dumped nearby, including Gorleston-on-Sea in Norfolk which was voted the UK’s top beach on TripAdvisor.
Other popular tourist destinations affected by the warnings included Brighton, Scarborough, Blackpool and Whitstable.
Underwater filmmaker at Beneath British Waters Mark Barrow hit out at the sewage leaks, telling NationalWorld it has been caused "due to major decisions of stupidity and corporate greed” and it “could go into the summer.”
The UK beaches awarded Blue Flag status
Three beaches in Norfolk have retained their Blue Flag status this year with Councillor Tim Adams, Leader of North Norfolk District Council, saying he is “delighted” at the news.
Meanwhile five beaches in the North East have been awarded the status in time for the summer and 37 were awarded in the South West. There were also 14 winners in the South East and four in Yorkshire and the Humber.
Listed are the beaches in each region that have been awarded the Blue Flag award in 2023.
- Central Beach, Mablethorpe
- Central Beach, Skegness
- Central Beach, Sutton on Sea
East of England
- Felixstowe South and Pier, East Suffolk
- Southwold, East Suffolk
- Cromer, North Norfolk
- Sheringham, North Norfolk
- West Runton, North Norfolk
- East Beach Shoeburyness, Southend on Sea
- Shoebury Common, Southend on Sea
- Thorpe Bay, Southend on Sea
- Three Shells Beach, Southend on Sea
- Westcliff Bay, Southend on Sea
- Dovercourt Bay, Tendring
- Brightlingsea, Tendring
- Frinton on Sea, Tendring
- Walton on the Naze Albion Beach, Tendring
- Tynemouth Longsands, North Tyneside
- King Edwards Bay, North Tyneside
- Whitley Bay, North Tyneside
- Roker, Sunderland
- Seaburn, Sunderland
Yorkshire & Humber
- Scarborough North Bay, North Yorkshire
- Whitby, North Yorkshire
- Hornsea, East Riding
- Withernsea, East Riding
- Hove Lawns, Brighton
- Tankerton, Canterbury
- Marina St Leonards, Hastings
- Hayling Island Beachlands, Havant
- Sandown, Isle of Wight
- Sheerness Beach, Kent
- Minster Leas, Kent
- Botany Bay, Kent
- Joss Bay, Kent
- Minnis Bay, Kent
- St Mildreds, Kent
- Margate Main Sands, Kent
- Stone Bay, Kent
- West Wittering Beach, Chichester
- Blackpool Sands, Devon
- Sandbanks Peninsular, Poole
- Shore Road, Poole
- Canford Cliffs, Poole
- Branksome, Poole
- Alum Chine, Bournemouth
- Bournemouth Manor Steps, Bournemouth
- Durley Chine, Bouremouth
- Fisherman’s Walk, Bournemouth
- Southbourne, Bournemouth
- Avon Beach, Christchurch
- Friars Cliff Beach, Christchurch
- Highcliffe Beach, Christchurch
- Carbis Bay, Cornwall
- Crooklets, Cornwall
- Gyllyngvase, Cornwall
- Porthmeor, Cornwall
- Polzeath, Cornwall
- Porthtowan, Cornwall
- Summerleaze, Cornwall
- Trevone Bay, Cornwall
- Widemouth Bay, Cornwall
- Beer, Devon
- Exmouth, Devon
- Seaton, Devon
- Sidmouth Town, Devon
- Croyde Bay, Devon
- Swanage Central, Dorset
- Dawlish Warren, Devon
- Breakwater Beach, Brixham
- Broadsands, Devon
- Meadfoot Beach, Devon
- Oddicombe Beach, Devon
- Preston Sands, Devon
- Torre Abbey Sands, Devon
- Westward Ho!, Devon
- Weymouth Central, Devon