Blackpool South named as the only Blue Flag beach in the North West

Blackpool South Beach has been given a Blue Flag - the only one in the North West.

It means the bathing water is of the highest quality and the beach is clean.

On top of the Blue Flag at Blackpool South, the beaches opposite the Tower and at Bispham have also been given Seaside Award status.

Two beaches in Fleetwood, and two in Cleveleys have also been given Seaside Awards.

The Blue Flag award recognises coastal destinations that boast the highest quality of water, facilities, safety, environmental education and management. 

This year environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy is presenting 190 awards to England's very best beaches, including 65 international Blue Flags and 125 Seaside Awards (eight more than last year), with 42 beaches achieving both awards. 

Cllr Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council, said: " I am so proud that Blackpool South has achieved a Blue Flag for the third year running.

"Our entire coastline is award-winning which is great news for the millions of people that enjoy it every year. 

"We wouldn't have been able to achieve this without the support of local residents and businesses who have donated their time and energy to the LOVEmyBEACH campaign.

"We want to keep this Blue Flag next year and we can only do that with everyone helping us."

The public LOVEmyBEACH campaign has helped to improve sea water quality, with messages around looking after the water reaching thousands of people across the North West, as well as hundreds of volunteers doing Fylde coast beach cleans and many local businesses signing up to be responsible companies.

Keep Britain Tidy's Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton said:  "The success of the 148 beaches in reaching the very high standards demanded by both awards is testament to all those who have worked so hard to protect and improve our beaches - from beach managers and volunteers to local people and businesses. 

"When you enjoy a trip to a beach flying an international Blue Flag or Seaside Award, you know you are on one of the safest, cleanest and very best in the country."

15th May marks the start of the UK’s bathing water season which runs until the 30th September every year; the period when the Environment Agency monitors the water quality every week.

Signs are displayed at each designated bathing water highlighting the current classification as well as other useful information. The current classifications and results of the samples taken throughout the bathing season are also available on the LOVEmyBEACH website alongside a list of beach facilities, and time tides.

As a way to inspire others to make use of the coast, the LOVEmyBEACH is encouraging everyone to share photos of them at the beach using the hashtag #getyourfeetwet.

The improvements in water quality across the region are a result of the Turning Tides partnership; a selection of organisations including local authorities, the Environment Agency, United Utilities and Natural England, who came together in 2012 with an ambition to reduce pollution in the regions rivers, lakes and seas.

Through effective co-ordination of improvement works including £1 billion of investment by United Utilities, £7 million investment through Catchment Sensitive Farming to reduce dirty water running off farmland and the development of the LOVEmyBEACH campaign, the partnership has been cited by Defra as a model of good practice.

Neil Jack, Chair of the Turning Tides partnership and Chief Executive at Blackpool Council, added: ''Our bathing waters are so much cleaner today than they were twenty, ten or even only five years ago.

''That improvement is down to significant investment and partnership work from the Turning Tides partners such as United Utilities, and having a clear vision that clean bathing waters contribute to creating family friendly seaside resorts and boosting the North West economy as a whole.

''Our beaches are being cleaned regularly by hundreds of staff and volunteers throughout the summer and are being sampled regularly by the Environment Agency to check they are safe to swim in.''

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