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2017 Flag Awards

Today, Keep Britain Tidy announced the winners of 68 Blue Flags and 117 Seaside Awards and the results mean that more than a third of bathing beaches in England will be flying a flag that marks them out as the best in the country.

This year the North West has doubled the number of prestigious, international Blue Flags that will be flying during the bathing season, with a further 11 Seaside Awards also presented in the region.

Wallasey beach in Wirral has received the Blue Flag for the first time ever this year and Blackpool South, which was awarded its first Blue Flag last year, has once again achieved both the Blue Flag and the Seaside Award.

The awards are the quality marks for our beaches and mean those visiting them can be sure that they are clean, safe and meet the highest environmental standards, as well as the tough international bathing water quality standards.

A new survey carried out for Keep Britain Tidy shows that nine out of ten people said cleanliness, safety and assured water quality were key factors in deciding which beach to visit and 93% believe that it is important to preserve and protect our beaches.

This year, the international Blue Flag Award Scheme marks its 30th anniversary. In 1987 12 English beaches achieved their Blue Flag, in the 30 years since, this has soared to 68 beaches. Five beaches – Poole Shore Road/Sandbanks, Porthmeor, Oddicombe, Swanage and Weymouth – that flew one of the very first Blue Flags 30 years ago will be raising their flag again today.

Keep Britain Tidy’s Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “It is great news for holiday-makers, overseas visitors and businesses that rely on coastal tourism that we have been able to award so many flags this year. The success of our beaches in reaching the very high standards demanded by both awards are a real testament to all those who have worked so hard to protect and improve our beaches – from beach managers to local people and businesses. When you enjoy a day on the beach flying a Blue Flag or Seaside Award, you know you are on one of the safest, cleanest and very best in the country.”

St Annes

#GetYourFeetWet

The phrase, To Get Your Feet Wet, means ‘to experience something for the first time’ or ‘begin to participate in an activity.’

For many visitors to the North-West, and for some residents, this would be the best suited phrase for beach and sea usage; as more than half of adults have not had a single day at the seaside in the last year.

However, in 2017, there should be nothing holding visitors and residents back. Beach and water quality in the region has improved tremendously over the last thirty years and in 2016 all thirty-one bathing water locations in the North-West were compliant with EU regulations.
In addition, the region has ten beaches that will be flying flags that tell the public they are among the best beaches in the country with Blackpool South beach flying the prestigious Blue Flag Award – the international standard for the best beaches in the world.

That’s why, this May Bank Holiday weekend, the LOVEmyBEACH campaign is calling for residents and visitors to try something new and visit one of the beautiful beaches along the North-West coast.
There are a selection of ‘excellent’ rated beaches and bathing waters including Blackpool South, Formby & St Bees. The LOVEmyBEACH website includes the classifications of all the bathing water beaches in the North-west plus a comprehensive listing detailing information such as facilities and time tides.

The UK beach season is now officially open running from the 15th May until the 30th September every year; the period when the Environment Agency monitors the safety of the water every week.
A trip to the seaside is a thrifty, low cost day out that can span the generations. Here are our top five beach ideas if you need inspiration getting your feet wet:

1. FLY A KITE at St Anne’s
2. BUILD SANCASTLES at Blackpool
3. TAKE PHOTOS on the dunes at Ainsdale
4. WALK THE DOG at one of twenty five beaches in the region with minimal dog restrictions
5. WINDSURF at West Kirby

Whatever the activity, we encourage everyone to share their photos and ‘foosies’ (the selfie for your feet!) using the hashtag #getyourfeetwet.

Stephanie Wyatt, Manager of the LOVEmyBEACH campaign adds, “The 2016 water quality results are fantastic news and something for the region to be really proud of. It’s time to start making the most of our safe and clean beaches and the list of possible activities is endless. All we ask is that people continue to look after them when they visit by respecting wildlife and always taking home their litter.”

LOVEmyBEACH

Rossall Beach

This months litter heroes are The Rossall Beach Group who look after the shingle beach at Cleveleys between the new sea defences and Rossall School.

Their beach clean takes place every four weeks on a Monday morning from 9.30am and is followed by a coffee and a chat at The Venue on North Promenade.

On alternate fortnights, at Cleveleys Community Centre, you can join them to hear from a range of different speakers on all kinds of subjects related to the local area.

Additionally the group assist in education and campaigning within the local area.

Thank you for helping #lovemybeach

Rossall Beach residents clean up