Over the last 20 years we’ve made huge progress in making our beaches and bathing waters cleaner.
In 1988 only 18% of our bathing waters met minimum standards, in 2016 this was 100%.
Below is information on how we got there and how we’ll keep it that way…

2017 Flag Awards

Keep Britain Tidy have 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; 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.

A further 11 Seaside Awards also presented in the region to Morecambe North & South, St Annes Pier, Ferry Beach, Marine Beach, Jubilee Beach, Rossall Beach, Bispham, Blackpool North, South & Central. 

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.”

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Catchment Sensitive Farming update 2017

Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) has been working with farmers to improve water quality for over 10 years. In 2016/17 the dedicated Catchment Sensitive Farming Officers (CSFOs) engaged with over 630 farms in the North West, and provided valuable advice on ways in which farmers can reduce their impact on water,  much of which drains to the North West’s Bathing Waters. Catchment Officers offer detailed advice, and bring in experts on Soil Management, Nutrient Planning, and Farm Infrastructure Improvements, to assist and support farmers with taking the next steps.

In addition, working with a variety of partners, for example through collaborative projects with Ribble Rivers Trust and West Cumbria Rivers Trust, CSF has been able to expand the reach of their advice to additional farmers and add value to other projects by including the farming community. They have also been working closely on the ground with United Utilities Catchment Wise initiative.

Encouraging farmers to utilise the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in order to fund improvements for water quality, over 440 applications were received in 2016 by Natural England for the Mid-Tier  scheme. CSFOs have engaged with the highest priority farmers which, includes over 60% of the applications received, encouraging the inclusion of high quality improvements for water, such as reducing the volumes of dirty water produced within the farm yard and reducing the risk of agricultural runoff reaching water courses.

New in 2017 for the North West was the Great Farm Challenge. CSF alongside the Environment Agency and United Utilities, hosted agriculture students from Myerscough, Reaseheath and Newton Rigg colleges. Students were invited to a day of workshops and an on farm visit to explore some of the on farm issues contributing to poor water quality. They were asked to write up a report of recommended actions, and the semi-finalists from each college present their findings at a grand finale at the NFU offices, where the winning teams were presented their awards by David Hall, regional Director, NFU.

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Whale and dolphin watching in Cumbria

By Cumbria Wildlife Trust

You don’t need to be an expert to get involved!

Run in partnership with the Sea Watch Foundation, Wildlife Trust will be doing a survey to help develop an understanding of where whales, dolphins and porpoises can be found in our waters.

Bring binoculars if you have them!

Includes a short steep walk up a cliff.

Children & families welcome. Dogs on leads please.

Booking required please telephone 01539 816300 or visit www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk

28 May 2017 Sun 10.30am–1.00pm
Where: Park in the car park at St Bees. GR: NX 960 118

4 June 2017 Sun 12.30pm–3.30pm
Where:  Park on Maryport promenade and meet at entrance to the Senhouse Roman Museum, Maryport CA15 6JD.

15 June 2017 Thu 2.30pm–5.00pm
Where: Park in the car park at St Bees. GR: NX 960 118

2 July 2017 Sun 3.00pm–5.00pm
Where: Park on Maryport promenade and meet at entrance to the Senhouse Roman Museum, Maryport CA15 6JD.

19 July 2017 Wed 10.30am–1.00pm
Where: Park in the car park at St Bees. GR: NX 960 118

1 August 2017 Tue 11.30am–2.00pm
Where: Park in the car park at St Bees. GR: NX 960 118

3 August 2017 Thu 10.30am–12.30pm
Where: Park on Maryport promenade and meet at entrance to the Senhouse Roman Museum, Maryport CA15 6JD.

6 August 2017 Sun 10.00am–12.30pm
Where: Park in the car park at St Bees. GR: NX 960 118

15 August 2017 Tue 4.00pm–6.00pm
Where: Park on Maryport promenade and meet at entrance to the Senhouse Roman Museum, Maryport CA15 6JD.

27 August 2017 Sun 3.00pm–5.00pm
Where: Park on Maryport promenade and meet at entrance to the Senhouse Roman Museum, Maryport CA15 6JD.

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