Felixstowe: Seeing red over resort’s lack of Blue Flag

COMMUNITY leaders facing fresh criticism over the lack of a prestigious Blue Flag for Felixstowe’s holiday beaches have today defended their decision not to enter the award for a second year running.

The seaside town flew the flag for ten years, but last year councillors pulled out, claiming rising costs associated with the scheme did not make it worthwhile – and instead spent the cash on new attractions for the resort.

Some residents believe the flag was a real boon in drawing people to the town, but town councillors dispute this and say the resort’s beaches have again been recognised for their cleanliness.

Andy Smith, chairman of the town plans committee, said the sea washing onto the resort’s beaches met far higher standards than those demanded by the flag award organisers.

“People come here because it’s a great place, not because we have or haven’t got a Blue Flag, and in very stringent financial times we need to make the very best use of our money,” he said.

Both Felixstowe South and North beaches have been awarded the top, “Recomm- ended” status, in the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Beach Guide 2011.

In order to meet the MCS standards beaches are monitored every week by the Environment Agency and water quality has to consistently meet high standards throughout the year. Recomm- ended status is more stringent than the Blue Flag testing.

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“From next year water quality in Europe will be measured against even stricter criteria under the Bathing Water Directive but we are confident that our water quality is already meeting this standard,” said Suffolk Coastal cabinet member Geoff Holdcroft.