A record five Southend beaches will be proudly flying prestigious Blue Flags this weekend.
The Blue Flag awards, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, is an international award for well-managed beaches with excellent water quality.
East Beach, Shoebury Common Beach, Thorpe Bay Beach and Three Shells Beach have all retained their Blue Flag this summer, with Westcliff Beach picking up the award for the first time.
In addition, all Southend beaches have been presented with a Seaside Award by Keep Britain Tidy. The Seaside Award recognises beaches that are well-managed and maintained. This includes Bell Wharf Beach, where bathing had previously been discouraged.
Cllr Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, culture and tourism, said “Both awards are the quality marks for our beaches and mean those visiting them can be sure that they are clean and safe and meet the highest environmental standards.
“Southend-on-Sea welcomes over 7 million visitors per year, and with Blue Flag and Seaside Awards flying above our beaches, residents and visitors will know that they are the best in the country. The flags attract visitors to our town, providing a huge boost for local businesses through the popular summer months.
“We want everyone to enjoy our beaches and help keep them award winning. We are all aware of the damage our waste causes to marine life and so we can all personally make a difference by disposing of rubbish responsibly when visiting the seaside or taking it home if any bins are full.”
The news comes after the council announced that the iconic pier trains were to begin operating once again, giving a welcome boost to the visitor offer in Southend.