What is Blue Flag Beach?

THE Blue Flag is an internationally recognized award for the beach environment and is awarded in 49 countries around the world.

But what does a beach have to do to achieve Blue Flag status – and how many beaches are there in the UK?

Bustling Brighton Central Beach is one of the Blue Flag beaches


Bustling Brighton Central Beach is one of the Blue Flag beaches

What is Blue Flag Beach?

Blue Flag Beach has an award that tells you what you can expect to find at the beach in terms of accessibility, biodiversity, safety and water quality, no matter where the beach is in the world.

The Blue Flag Plan was launched in 1987 and is an internationally recognized award for the beach environment, run by Environmental Education.

It is one of the most recognized voluntary awards in the world by seafarers, tour operators and sailors.

The main purpose of the program is to connect people to their environment.

At Blue Flag beach you can find pure water, clean coastline, access for all and top safety features.

How many Blue Flag beaches are there in the UK?

There are now a total of 182 Blue Flag beaches across the UK – 77 of these can be found in England.

This means England is now proud more Blue Flag beaches than South Africa, Cyprus or Mexico.

The majority of Britain’s Blue Flag beaches can be found in the southwest, in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.

Meanwhile, there are 52 Blue Flag beaches in Scotland, 45 in Wales and eight in Northern Ireland.

Margate Main Sands is one of 77 British Blue Flag beaches


Margate Main Sands is one of 77 British Blue Flag beachesCredit: Getty – Contributor

How does a beach get Blue Flag status?

To achieve Blue Flag status, a beach needs to demonstrate that it meets 33 individual criteria in four key assessment categories.

These categories are: environment, education, safety and accessibility.

Among other things, a Blue Flag beach needs to:

  • display information about its award
  • Show a map of the beach detailing its facilities
  • maintaining water quality: most importantly, there is no industrial waste or sewage that affects the beach
  • kept clean
  • provide publicly accessible vulnerabilities
  • patrolled by lifeguards
  • provide drinking water
  • has accessibility features
  • provide and promote activities related to environmental education
  • have a site-specific permanent display that informs people about biodiversity, ecosystems, and other points of environmental interest.

Can a beach lose its Blue Flag status?

Yes, once a beach has achieved Blue Flag status, it must be maintained or the beach may lose its award.

In the 2021 prize pool, this happened to Botany Bay and Westbrook Bay, both in Kent.

Evaluations are done annually, as beaches can lose their Blue Flag status if not maintained properly.

The UK Beaches Blue Flag Awards are held every June. What is Blue Flag Beach?

Fry Electronics Team

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