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Flags keep flying at Felixstowe beaches

PUBLISHED: 20:21 14 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:33 03 March 2010

WITH the first major influx of visitors just weeks away, Felixstowe had plenty to shout about today when two of its beaches won prestigious awards.

These days it's not so much about winning awards at the resort, it's all about holding onto them – and keeping the flag flying.

WITH the first major influx of visitors just weeks away, Felixstowe had plenty to shout about today when two of its beaches won prestigious awards.

These days it's not so much about winning awards at the resort, it's all about holding onto them – and keeping the flag flying.

Each year tourism chiefs, councillors and seaside traders hold their breath to see if the town keeps the flags it holds, or not.

It was announced today that for the third year running Felixstowe has won Seaside Awards for its two most popular beaches.

The Dip in Old Felixstowe, a quiet family area, won a rural award, while the south beach – from the pier to the funfair – won a resort award, class B.

Now the town is on tenterhooks to see if it can hold on to the European Blue Flag its south beach won last summer.

Mayor of Felixstowe Harry Dangerfield said: "This is excellent news for the town and I am really pleased. Everyone is working so hard each year to make sure the flags are retained.

"The flags will be a big boost to everyone and certainly help with our promotion of the town to try to attract more visitors and hopefully these flags are taken into account when people decide the places they visit."

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

Organisers of the Seaside Awards, 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 be helping to 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."

A record 317 beaches will fly the famous yellow and blue flags this summer after passing strict criteria on beach management – including providing first aid, clean toilets and access and facilities for disabled visitors.

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

This year resort beaches have been given grades based on management of issues such as cleanliness, access, safety provision, dog control, and information.

"While there is still much to be done, the time has come for all of us to stop being embarrassed about our beaches and start celebrating them for what they are – a viable option for tourists here and from overseas," said Mr Woods

"The tired old cliches about Britain's coastline being unattractive, its beaches dirty and its facilities antiquated, should be consigned to the past – where they belong."

WEBLINK: www.seasideawards.org.uk


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