Thanet receives 6 Blue Flags and 4 Seaside Awards for isle beaches

Stone Bay has a Blue Flag

Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy has today (Tuesday 16 May) announced the winners of the prestigious Blue Flag and Seaside Awards for summer 2023.

Thanet has been awarded six Blue Flags and four Seaside Awards.

Blue Flag beaches

  • Minnis Bay;
  • St. Mildred’s Bay;
  •  Margate Main Sands;
  • Botany Bay;
  • Joss Bay
  • Stone Bay

This year West Bay has lost its Blue Flag status but is amongst the sites receiving a Seaside Award.

West Bay Photo Frank Leppard

Seaside Award beaches

  • West Bay;
  • Westbrook Bay;
  • Viking Bay
  • Ramsgate Main Sands.
Ramsgate Main Sands Photo Brian Whitehead

Mike Humber, Director of Environment at Thanet District Council, said: “We’re very proud of our six Blue Flags and four Seaside Awards. 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, and we will continue to strive to achieve the best possible standards for our beaches.

“These internationally-recognised awards can only be achieved with the continued dedication and hard work of council officers, partners, businesses, volunteers and residents, who all play a role in helping to keep our beaches as clean and enjoyable as possible.

“We are proud that whichever part of Thanet’s coastline you choose to visit you can find a well-managed, award-winning beach.”

Viking Bay By Swift Aerial Photography

The Blue Flag and Seaside Awards are aimed at improving the quality of England’s coastline and promoting the country’s best beaches.

Blue Flag is an international award managed by Keep Britain Tidy on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education. It is only presented to well-managed beaches with water quality defined as ‘excellent’ under the EU Bathing Water Directive and environmental education programmes, while Seaside Awards are presented to the best beaches in England and celebrate the quality and diversity of our coastline.


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.


    • I’m looking forward very much to starting to swim again at Ramsgate main sands! June to September, even October if it’s fine enough, are perfect months to swim in.

  1. Blimey did hhey not walk the surrounding areas znd streets to see the incredibly high levels of litter,weeds and grafitti.There is more litter strewn across Thanet than London.
    I pick up daily 5 to 10 pieces of litter everyday in my street and I have lived there for over 10 years.Imagine what it would look like without me.The street along with many others have never seen a TDC broom.

  2. Clearly the criteria for a Blue Flag are pretty low.

    After having had hundreds of motorbikes spewing oil and petrol onto the sand all over the weekend, and the toilet facilities comprising three portaloos on the pavement – how can Margate Main Sands warrant an award for excellence ? ? ?

  3. Keep Britain Tidy is an enviromental charity whose objectives are to keep clean beaches,parks and streets.Thanets streets are disgustingly littered.Quite easily the dirtiest seaside towns Ive ever visited.Just go for a walk in neighbouring Whitstable.Just as many tourists and far better kept.

  4. Voted, and sponsored by, yes you guessed it………SOUTHERN WATER……
    What a waste…..

  5. Really ?? So the tons of untreated sewage Southern Water regularly dump in the sea every time we have heavy rain doesn’t count, I find that very hard to believe.

  6. Whilst there may have been some improvements on Margate main sands and the sea front over the past year or so I am puzzled that it has received a blue flag. Standards must indeed be low as John has noted above.The main sands and the beach around the harbour area is frequently subject to foul smelling rotting fly infested seaweed caked with rubbish ,Sick making and gut wrenching in the extreme. The main sands I believe have not been immune from sewage outflows due to southern Waters antics from time to time.

    Public conveniences are poor, it’s taken years for Tdc to start to refurbish them. Litter and rubbish is strewn over the beach and main promenade areas most summer days and often paladins are overflowing. The amount of graffiti on the main sea Wall is ever increasing . The beautiful flagstone seafront promenade is rarely or if ever commercially jet washed resulting in it being stained and filthy.

    A total lack of enforcement with respect to littering ,single use barbecues ,use of petrol / diesel generators on the beach use of ghetto blasters and evidence of serious dog fouling on the promenade, not to forget the idling coaching spewing out petrol fumes on the approach to the main sands on a regular basis .in short plenty of anti social behaviour .
    Fortunately there are other far more pleasant quieter beaches near by to enjoy a day on the beach .
    TDC ‘s officers and members who are supposed to be running the show really do need to do better ,let’s hope the labour group are up to the challenge. The Director of the environment for TDC really does need to take a close look at the main sands area to get the real picture .

  7. Sure to make any sea swimmers blood boil reading this!
    Honestly it simply is not accurate. I’ve complained to Southern Water numerous times about frequent sewage outages preventing sea swimming, only to be asked if I had considered saving water by not flushing the loo every time.
    A very misleading award.

  8. I always wondered how we had lots of “Blue Flag beaches” after years of untreated sewage being dumped into the sea.
    Presumably the bar was being set so low that the actual nature of the sea water wasn’t really considered.
    So what is the value of the “Blue Flag” award?

  9. The water at West Bay and Westbrook is the same water that flows to and from Minnis Bay, St. Mildred’s Bay and Margate Main Sands; the facilities are all managed by TDC and below par, so what’s the difference between these beaches?

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