Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy has announced the winners of the Blue Flag and Seaside Awards for summer 2023, and Southend’s beaches have been named as some of the best in the country.
Southend has been awarded five Blue Flag Awards, the most awarded to any local authority in the East of England, for East Beach Shoeburyness, Shoebury Common, Thorpe Bay, Three Shells Beach and Westcliff Bay, and eight Seaside Awards for Chalkwell Beach, Jubilee Beach, Thorpe Bay Beach, Three Shells Beach, Shoebury Common Beach, East Beach Shoeburyness, Bell Wharf Beach and Westcliff Bay.
Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment, culture and tourism, said: “I am delighted that our beaches have won these prestigious awards because it means residents and visitors to a beach flying a Blue Flag or Seaside Award can be assured the beach will be clean, safe and meet the highest environmental standards, as well as international bathing water quality standards.
“Congratulations to everyone, including our wonderful team of volunteers, who help to maintain Southend’s beaches all-year round to ensure they meet the stringent criteria required to be named amongst the best and cleanest beaches in the country.”
The Blue Flag and Seaside Awards are aimed at improving the quality of England’s coastline and promoting the country’s best beaches.
Blue Flag is an international award managed by Keep Britain Tidy on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education. It is only presented to well-managed beaches with water quality defined as ‘excellent’ under the EU Bathing Water Directive and environmental education programmes, while Seaside Awards are presented to the best beaches in England and celebrate the quality and diversity of our coastline.
Keep Britain Tidy’s Chief Executive, Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “The Blue Flag is the world’s most recognised award for beaches and marinas and, to qualify, each applicant must meet and maintain a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety and accessibility criteria.
“We’d therefore like to recognise and applaud all those who have worked so hard to protect and improve some of our best-loved and most popular beaches. The collective efforts of beach managers, volunteers, residents and businesses all contribute to the success of these sites in achieving the incredibly high standards demanded.”
Among the criteria beaches are assessed against are:
- safety and services, such as first aid, lifeguards where necessary
- environmental information including displaying details about local eco systems
- 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