Fourteen Thanet beaches have scooped Blue Flag and Seaside Awards from Keep Britain Tidy in recognition of their cleanliness, safety and environmental standards.
The awards, from Keep Britain Tidy, are quality marks given out each year by the organisation following tests to make sure waters reach tough international bathing water quality standards. They mean that those visiting can be sure that they are clean, safe and meet the highest environmental standards.
Thanet has increased its number of award winning beaches by 40%, going from 10 in 2018 to 14 in 2019.
This year Thanet has gone from six to seven Blue Flag beaches with Westbrook also receiving the accolade.
And 14 beaches received the Seaside Award, meaning all Blue Flag beaches gained both titles and four beaches – Walpole Bay, Dumpton Gap, Louisa Bay and Ramsgate’s Western Undercliff were new additions.
In total Thanet has 21 awards – more than any other district council in the country.
The Seaside Award is particularly good news for Walpole Bay which had been rated as poor under EU water quality regulations for several years. In the ratings for 2016, under stricter EU regulations which came into force in 2015, Walpole Bay received a poor standard despite having 17 ‘acceptable’ water quality results out of 20 weekly samples. Last year it was graded as sufficient but the Seaside Award means the Bay’s water quality has now been graded as good.
7 International Blue Flags
Margate Main Sands
Westbrook Bay (new for 2019)
14 Seaside Awards
All Blue Flag beaches plus
Dumpton Gap (new for 2019)
Louisa Bay (new for 2019)
Ramsgate Main Sands
Ramsgate Western Undercliff (new for 2019)
Walpole Bay (new for 2019)
Gavin Waite, Director of Operational and Commercial Services at Thanet District Council said: “Our 19 miles of stunning coastline provide a fantastic place for both residents and visitors to enjoy. We are immensely proud to have achieved so many prestigious awards for our sandy beaches, the most in the South East. It’s recognition of all the hard work put in by officers, various agencies, voluntary groups and local people to protect our beaches and ensure they remain world class.
“These awards continue to put Thanet on the map as a quality visitor destination and are a symbol to people that the beach and facilities live up to the highest standards of safety, cleanliness, access and environmental management.”
This year, Keep Britain Tidy presented 208 awards to England’s very best beaches, including 71 international Blue Flags and 137 Seaside Awards, with 52 beaches achieving both awards.
Keep Britain Tidy’s Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “The success of the 156 beaches in reaching the very high standards demanded by both awards is testament to all those who have worked so hard to protect and improve our beaches – from beach managers and volunteers to local people and businesses.”
To be awarded a Blue Flag, beaches must comply with a number of criteria covering environmental education and information, excellent water quality, environmental management, safety and services. For a Seaside Award beaches must achieve the highest standards of management and, in the case of bathing beaches, meet the required standards for water quality.
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.
Thanet District Council encourages people to take part in the national #2minutebeachclean campaign and has clean-up stations at beaches across the district. Clearing up the small area you’ve spent time on really helps reduce the amount of litter that ends up on beaches and in the ocean.