Thanet has received five blue flags and five seaside awards from Keep Britain Tidy.
The Blue Flag and Seaside Awards are aimed at improving the quality of England’s coastline and promoting England’s best beaches.
Thanet’s Blue Flag beaches have been named as Minnis Bay; West Bay; St Mildred’s Bay; Margate Main Sands and Stone Bay.
Seaside Awards have been given to Westbrook’; Botany Bay; Joss Bay; Viking Bay and Ramsgate Main Sands. West Bay is listed as having a Seaside Award alongside its Blue Flag but Thanet council says this is incorrect.
However, Westbrook and Botany Bay had been awarded Blue Flag status in 2019 but are now listed as Seaside Awards. Seaside Awards had also been given in 2019 to Louisa Bay, Ramsgate Western Undercliff and Walpole Bay but these do not appear on the 2021 list.
In 2020, Thanet was awarded six Blue Flags and four Seaside Awards.
A council spokesperson said: “A key qualifying requirement for the Blue Flag award is that during bathing season, dogs are excluded from the award area of the beach. The council proposed this for Westbrook Bay during a recent dog control Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) public consultation but people responded in the majority against this change. As dogs are allowed on leads, the beach is only eligible for a Seaside Award.”
Cllr Steve Albon, Cabinet Member for Operational Services at Thanet District Council, said: “Today’s awards from environmental charity, Keep Britain Tidy, show that wherever you go on Thanet’s coastline you are sure of an award-winning beach that is well managed, clean and safe.
“We’re thrilled to once again receive so many prestigious awards for our beautiful beaches. Work takes place all year round to maintain our 19 miles of coastline to the high standards that our residents and visitors have come to expect.
“These awards can only be achieved with the continued hard work of council officers, partners, businesses, volunteers and residents who help keep our beaches as clean and enjoyable as possible.”
“The district received every award exactly as applied and we should be very proud of our five International Blue Flags and five Seaside Awards. It is testament to the cleanliness, quality and facilities that beachgoers can enjoy.”
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.