Ten Thanet beaches have received Blue Flags and Seaside awards from Keep Britain Tidy in recognition of their cleanliness, safety and environmental standards.
The awards are quality marks given out each year by the organisation following tests to make sure waters reach tough international bathing water quality standards.
Thanet is in the top three areas to scoop the most awards, beaten by Cornwall and Torbay and tying with Southend.
The isle received six Blue Flag and four Seaside Awards. In total Keep Britain Tidy made 185 awards – 68 Blue Flag and 117 Seaside Awards
The top Thanet beaches are:
St Mildreds Bay
Margate Main Sands
Ramsgate Main Sands
Viking Bay, Broadstairs
Gavin Waite, Director of Operational Services at Thanet District Council, said: “Thanet is one of the UK’s fastest growing tourism economies and our spectacular, sandy beaches help us attract thousands of visitors every year.
“We are delighted that 10 of them have been recognised by Keep Britain Tidy as the country’s best. These awards are a mark of our team’s commitment and dedication to keeping our beaches clean and safe for everyone to enjoy.
“With an action packed events programme this summer, there has never been a better time to live or visit the Isle of Thanet.”
Ramsgate Main Sands downgraded
The Isle of Thanet News revealed in March this year that Ramsgate had lost its Blue Flag after Environment Agency sea water tests resulted in a rating of good instead of excellent.
The water had been rated as excellent in 2015 and 2014.
Tests between May 1st 2016 — September 30th 2016 resulted in the downgrade.
In order to apply for a Blue Flag beach award water quality must be classified as ‘Excellent’.
The quality of bathing water can be affected by factors such as run-off from roads and/ or agricultural land; storm overflows from the wastewater network; boat and marine activities; misconnections of wastewater pipes into the surface water system; animals, such as dogs or seabirds, on the beach; and litter. This can be made worse by strong tides or heavy rainfall.
Bathing Water Quality Legislation
- Every year, from May to September, the Environment Agency monitors the water quality of more than 400 beaches throughout the UK.
- These beaches, known as ‘designated bathing water’ are those used by a large number of bathers and are required to meet strict European guidelines on water quality.
- There are 13 designated bathing waters in the Thanet district.
- The way bathing water quality is measured changed in 2015 with the implementation of more stringent new standards.
- The Environment Agency now uses four years’ worth of data to assess water quality and classify it as either ‘Excellent’, ‘Good’, ‘Sufficient’ or ‘Poor’.
- This change is the result of a revision to the EU Bathing Water Directive and means that achieving the new water quality standards are almost twice as tough as before.
What are Blue Flags and Seaside Awards?
- The Blue Flag beach award, issued in the UK by Keep Britain Tidy, is recognised internationally and widely considered to be the gold standards for beaches.
- There are several criteria for a blue flag beach – environmental education activities, on-site beach information, environmental management, safety and services and water quality.
- Keep Britain Tidy’s Seaside Award is the nationwide standard for the best beaches across the UK – a symbol of quality which ensures visitors are guaranteed to find a clean, safe, attractive and well-managed coast.