55 beaches in England have satisfied tough new EU requirements to be given the coveted Blue Flag award, in recognition of their high standards and water quality.

Drop in the number of beaches given Blue Flag award

However, the scheme, run in England by Keep Britain Tidy, saw an overall drop in the number of beaches being given the award - down from 79 in 2012.  Some have attributed to this to heavy rainfall last summer and a corresponding temporary rise in bacteria levels as well as the stricter EU standards.

Beaches were rated on categories including safety, facilities and environmental management as well as water quality.

The Isle of Thanet in Kent, home to Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate won eight awards, whilst Bournemouth and Poole in Dorset, Torbay in Devon and the Isle of Wight each received four awards.

2013 Blue Flag beaches

  • East Midlands: Mablethorpe Central , Skegness Central, Sutton-on-Sea, Cleethorpes North Promenade

  • East of England: Cromer, Sea Palling, Sheringham, Martello Bay in Clacton-on-Sea, Dovercourt Bay, Brightlingsea, South Claremont Pier in Lowestoft

  • North East: Tynemouth Longsands, King Edwards Bay, Whitley Bay, Sandhaven

  • Yorkshire: North Bay in Scarborough, Whitby

  • South East: Littlehampton Coastguards, Hayling Island Beachlands, Sandown, Ventnor, Yaverland, Colwell, Minnis Bay, West Bay, St Mildreds, Westbrook Bay, Margate, Botany Bay, Joss Bay, Stone Bay, West Wittering

  • South West: Sandbanks, Shore Road, Canford Cliffs and Branksome Chine in Poole, Blackpool Sands, Alum Chine, Durley Chine and Fisherman's Walk in Bournemouth, Southbourne, Carbis Bay, Polzeath, Porthtowan, Gyllnygvase, Porthmeor, Sandy Bay, Salcombe South Sands, Swanage Central, Dawlish Warren, Breakwater, Broadsands, Meadfoot, Oddicombe, Westward Ho!

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