Double delight for Felixstowe

THERE was double delight at Felixstowe today as the resort waved the flag for its clean beaches and top-quality tourist facilities.For as civic dignitaries gathered to see two yellow flag Seaside Awards hoisted, it was announced that the resort had also won a prestigious European Blue Flag for its main holiday beach for the third year running.

THERE was double delight at Felixstowe today as the resort waved the flag for its clean beaches and top-quality tourist facilities.

For as civic dignitaries gathered to see two yellow flag Seaside Awards hoisted, it was announced that the resort had also won a prestigious European Blue Flag for its main holiday beach for the third year running.

The blue flag has been awarded again for the beach on the south side of the pier and tourist traders hope it will help to attract more visitors this summer.

"It is another major boost for Felixstowe's reputation as a resort that it has succeeded in retaining its internationally-recognised Blue Flag for the third year running," said Doreen Savage, chairman of the resort regeneration group.

"Thanks to the hard work led by local authorities like Suffolk Coastal, there is now a record number of beaches in Britain that can fly the Blue Flag but Felixstowe is still one of only 83 which shows how tough the criteria are."

The Blue Flag is awarded on tough targets for water cleanliness, with regular checks during the bathing season to ensure there has been no drop in standards.

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Among other standards that have to be met is the need for at least five educational activities to be offered, a ban on dogs during the summer season, high-quality toilets with baby changing areas, drinking water, access for disabled visitors, first aid and rescue, and nearby recycling facilities.

It is the third honour for the town after last month its north and south beaches were included in the Marine Conservation Society 2002 Good Beach Guide.

Meanwhile, Suffolk Coastal council chairman John Richardson was hoisting the yellow Seaside Award flags, awarded for the south beach and The Dip, Old Felixstowe, by independent environmental charity Encams for a third year.

The Dip, one of the resort's most popular beaches, a quiet family area, won a rural award, while the south beach from the pier to the funfair won a resort award class B.

The Environment Agency tests bathing water quality and only those beaches that have passed the EU minimum legal standards are eligible for the award.

Encams urged the public to start backing Britain's beaches by visiting and promoting them.

"Tourism is one of the largest industries in the UK and is worth approximately 75 billion a year It also employs over two million people," said Alan Woods chief executive of Encams.

"By visiting one of our award-winning beaches this summer you will help keep that industry and many local economies afloat.

"Whether visiting a resort with the family or strolling along a rural beach you will also be able to look forward to clean sands and good facilities not something you would necessarily have found at the British coast a decade ago."

Other Suffolk winners were Aldeburgh, Kessingland, Gunton Denes, Lowestoft, Southwold, Sizewell and Thorpeness.

In addition to Felixstowe, other Blue Flag winners in the region were Lowestoft, Southwold Pier, Dovercourt Bay, and Woolverstone Marina.

WEBLINK: www.seasideawards.org,uk