Felixstowe blue flag anger

COMMUNITY leaders were left frustrated today after Felixstowe's main holiday beach lost its prestigious European Blue Flag - because water quality tests were not analysed properly.

COMMUNITY leaders were left frustrated today after Felixstowe's main holiday beach lost its prestigious European Blue Flag - because water quality tests were not analysed properly.

Environment Agency bosses and council chiefs insist the resort's water is definitely clean - but could not prove it to the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE) which makes the awards.

Now Keep Britain Tidy, which oversees the flags scheme in the UK, is to help Felixstowe lodge an appeal.

A spokesman said: “We are very sorry about Felixstowe South's loss of Blue Flag status following problems with the testing procedure.


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“We feel Felixstowe should have a Blue Flag and will be helping them with a formal appeal to the FEE, the international awarding body.

“Felixstowe has devoted considerable resources to an improvement programme in recent years and this setback is no reflection on their efforts.

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“We have every confidence in the beach's commitment to quality and hope to see a Blue Flag proudly flying there as soon as possible.”

For the past seven years, the resort's south beach - from the pier to the amusement park - has enjoyed Blue Flag status.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “There was a delay between the samples being collected and their being analysed. This delay meant that they didn't fully meet our quality control procedures which require analysis of a bathing water sample to start within 24 hours of collection.

“We are confident that the water quality at Felixstowe South is excellent and would have passed Blue Flag standards.”

While the English Blue Flag jury would have given a flag, the international jury refused.

A Suffolk Coastal council spokesman said: “This is a really frustrating breach of the rules as all the evidence shows that our water quality at Felixstowe South is excellent.

“All the tests before and after the missing period show that the water quality met all the tough criteria, and indeed the tests that EA managed to carry out north of this beach were officially excellent.”

England has 71 Blue Flags this year - a fall of 11 from 2008, largely due to flooding over the past couple of years.

The only Blue Flag beaches in Suffolk are at Lowestoft. Southwold also lost its flag.

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

Where are the best beaches?

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