THE BEACHES of Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole and Purbeck have once again won the coveted Blue Flag awards.
Sandbanks won the international award again after receiving one every year since the program launched 35 years ago.
Avon Beach, Highcliffe Beach and Friars Cliff achieved the distinction for the first time.
In Bournemouth, Alum Chine, Durley Chine, Manor Steps, Fisherman’s Walk and Southbourne received the flags.
Meanwhile, in Poole, Shore Road, Sandbanks, Canford Cliffs and Branksome China have been honoured.
Swanage Central was also celebrated.
This year, 36 Southwest beaches met the high standards required to earn Blue Flag awards.
Blue Flag is an international award run by Keep Britain Tidy on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education.
It is only presented to well-managed beaches with excellent water quality and environmental education programs.
Some of the beach evaluation criteria include:
- Security and services, such as first aid, lifeguards if needed
- Environmental information, including displaying details of local ecosystems
- Water Quality – Blue Flag beaches must meet the ‘excellent’ water quality standard as set out in the EU Bathing Water Directive and Seaside Award winners must meet the ‘sufficient’ standard “.
- Environmental management, including litter and waste
All of the Blue Flag Award-winning beaches in Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole and Purbeck have also received Seaside Awards, along with Bournemouth Pier and Boscombe Pier.
Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “The success of these beaches in achieving the very high standards demanded is a testament to all those who have worked so hard to protect and enhance our blue spaces – from beach managers and volunteers to local residents and businesses.
“The enormous commitment required to maintain wonderful beaches worthy of these awards cannot be underestimated.
“People who visit a beach with a Blue Flag or Seaside Award can be assured that the beach will be clean, safe and will meet the highest environmental standards, as well as international bathing water quality standards.”
Councilor Mohan Iyengar, Tourism, Leisure and Culture Portfolio Holder, said, “We are very proud of the number of awards we have received so far this year. The team works incredibly hard to take care of our beaches and there has been a phenomenal amount of work done behind the scenes to roll out the preparedness plans for this year’s summer.”
“We consider ourselves lucky to be stewards of such stunning coastline and it’s great to know that Keep Britain Tidy has given us their endorsement.”