Blue flag out at Felixstowe

TOURISM chiefs dispelled the doom and gloom over Felixstowe's crumbling coastline as they hoisted the flag that says its sea water and beaches are still among the best.

TOURISM chiefs dispelled the doom and gloom over Felixstowe's crumbling coastline as they hoisted the flag that says its sea water and beaches are still among the best.

It was the annual unfurling of the prestigious Blue Flag for the resort's main holiday beach - an award which the shoreline has now held for the best part of a decade.

Invited guests were given a half-hour open-top bus ride around the resort before the ceremony.

The beach between the leisure centre and funfair is one of two to have won awards this summer, meeting the tough requirements of cleanliness and good management set by ENCAMS.

The Dip at Old Felixstowe won a Yellow Rural Seaside Award, while the main beach won the Blue Flag, an award now recognised worldwide, the same flag given to shores across Europe plus the Caribbean and America.

It means the beaches have good access, top-notch facilities, litter-free sand and clean sea-water which meets legal minimum standards of water quality laid down by the European Union.

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Blue Flag Director for the East of England, Nigel Tansley-Thomas said: “British people make nearly 300 million trips to their coast each year and are increasingly attracted to Blue Flag beaches because they offer cleaner sand and seawater and better facilities.

“Visitors look for a quality mark so I would urge all those beaches that haven't entered the award or have been unable to meet its strict criteria to strive harder - or risk being left behind.”

Tom Wright, chief executive of national tourism agency VisitBritain said: “Despite competition from rival 'sun, sea and sand' destinations, millions of us head to British beaches throughout the year. The sheer variety of our beaches is a major appeal for visitors.”

The open top bus will be running in Felixstowe from July 23 to September 3 every Wednesday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday.

Felixstowe is featured in The Blue Flag Beaches Guide 2006 with a colour location map, regional mini guides, and recommended attractions. It is priced £4.99 and available from bookshops.

WEBLINKS: www.visitbritain.com

www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk

What do you think of Felixstowe's beaches? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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