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.
Seaside Award beaches
- West Bay;
- Westbrook Bay;
- Viking Bay
- Ramsgate Main Sands.
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.”
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.