Summer is within reach; we can almost taste it! Time to round up the kids, pack up the car and - not forgetting your beach changing robe- head to the beach. If you're wondering which beach to head to, then you'll be pleased to know that the Blue Flag winners have recently been announced.
The Blue Flag programme, for those of you who don't know, is a programme that is dedicated to ensuring environmental standards are adhered to the world over and that beaches are not only clean but safe as well. Beaches are judged on four categories: environmental education, environmental management, safety and water quality.
Under environmental education things such as offering environmental educational activities, displaying information about bathing water quality and having a map of the beach with facilities being displayed are some of the criteria covered. For environmental management there should be a beach management committee, all laws and regulations should be adhered to and the beach must be clean. Under safety, some of the areas covered are public safety methods, first aid equipment, pollution risks and drinking water. For water quality, unsurprisingly, the criteria focus on water quality sampling and analysis.
What the Blue Flag awards do is to set a standard for beaches, which really helps in the effort to keep them clean of the things that damage our environment - such as plastic and litter. If you head for a Blue Flag Beach, then you are heading for a beach that is not only free from litter but has a high standard of water quality and excellent facilities too.
The Awards were launched in 1987 when only twelve English beaches were awarded this status, but we have come a long way since then. This year, 65 beaches in the UK were awarded Blue Flag status and they are:
South West - 26 Blue Flag Awards
Branksome Chine, Poole
Canford Cliffs, Poole
Sandbanks Peninsular, Poole
Shore Road, Poole
South East - 15 Blue Flag Awards
Hayling Island Beachlands
Margate Main Sands
Marina St Leonards
West Wittering Bay
East of England - 12 Blue Flag Awards
East Beach Shoeburyness
East Midlands - 4 Blue Flag Awards
Central Beach, Mablethorpe
Central Beach, Skegness
Central Beach, Sutton on Sea
North East - 6 Blue Flag Awards
King Edwards Bay
North West - 1 Blue Flag Award
If you are heading out to the beach this summer and want to make sure that it is a Blue Flag beach, then you should use this handy interactive map from Keep Britain Tidy. Oh and don’t forget your booicore!