Felixstowe is only Suffolk beach to land prestigious Blue Flag award
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Felixstowe South Beach and Pier has been named one of 76 Blue Flag rated beaches in England to have 'excellent' water quality for swimming — and is the only one in Suffolk.
The coastal awards for 2021 revealed only one Suffolk beach had made the top tier, while three others met the lower standard for the Seaside Award.
Lowestoft South of Claremont Pier, Kessingland and Southwold won the Seaside Award, alongside a number of Tendring District Council beaches; Clacton-on-Sea (Martello Tower), Frinton-on-Sea and Harwich.
Tendring beaches to get the coveted Blue Flag award were Dovercourt Bay, Brightlingsea and Walton-on-the-Naze Albion Beach.
The beaches to win a Blue Flag also won the Seaside Award.
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Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy (KBT) administers the Blue Flag programme and announced that England now boasts more top level beaches than Brazil, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Israel, Malta, Mexico or South Africa — and they're all on the green list this summer.
Felixstowe South Beach and Pier was the only Blue Flag location in the county as no other beaches in East Suffolk met the requirement for bathing water quality, which needs to meet a high level consistently over a period of time.
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More beaches will have the Seaside Award because, to get the Blue Flag you have to have the ‘excellent’ water quality as defined by the EU Bathing Water Directive — the Seaside Award requires beaches to have ‘sufficient’ water quality as a minimum.
The awards recognise not just the beauty of the beach but also the management, environmental measures, facilities and a host of other criteria against which they are judged.
The cost for councils to enter their beaches for the Blue Flag award is £729 plus VAT, for the Seaside Award £530 plus VAT and for both is £799 plus VAT.
Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, chief executive for KBT, said: “This year, more than ever, we are going to be relying on our country’s beautiful beaches to escape for a much-needed break after all the stresses and strains of the past year.
“Whether it’s camping in Cornwall, renting a cottage in North Yorkshire or simply having a day out at the seaside in Sussex, a fantastic beach is an essential part of a holiday for so many of us."
Last year, due to the pandemic, there wasn't an opportunity to celebrate all the country's beaches so there has been an increase in winners from 2019.