Wales celebrates 44 Blue Flags
Across the country, 44 Blue Flags are flying at 40 beaches, three marinas and one boat tour operator, meaning that Wales once again has more Blue Flags per mile than anywhere else in the UK.
The iconic Blue Flag is a world-renowned eco-label owned by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). For more than three decades, Blue Flag has had a transformational impact on water quality, environmental awareness, protection, safety and services.
Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said:
” We’re lucky in Wales to have some of the world’s finest beaches right here on our doorstep. It’s pleasing to see so many of our beaches receiving these awards as recognition of the hard work being done across Wales to keep our beaches and waters clean.
“The Blue Flag is a prestigious mark of quality showing how seriously we take environmental and water quality standards in Wales. We hope people across Wales are proud of the beaches which have received coastal awards this year and, along with visitors to Wales, take the opportunity to enjoy our stunning coastline.”
Award-winners included Porthcawl, where Rest Bay, Trecco Bay and Porthcawl Marina have all retained their coveted Blue Flag awards.
“We are proud that these three sites have each retained their Blue Flag Awards. A Blue Flag is a mark of the highest environmental standards which is trusted around the globe. The sight of a Blue Flag is a guarantee to visitors that they’ve arrived at a quality destination.”
Business owner Jon Dickson, who runs Gower holiday cottage business Hael Farm Cottages, said that Gower’s retention of three blue flags for Caswell Bay, Port Eynon and Langland was important for tourism in Gower:
“One of our holiday cottages is within walking distance of Port Eynon, one of the blue flag beaches. Gower is breathtakingly beautiful, and these awards attract more visitors to the area, which sustains the many pubs, restaurants, cafes and local shops in Gower who rely on visitors all year round.”
The award winners celebrated yesterday at a national ceremony hosted by Conwy County Borough Council at Porth Eirias .which has been newly designated as a bathing water and has received a Seaside Award for the first time.
3 Welsh Beaches lose blue flags
Unfortunately, three Welsh beaches lost their blue flag status, including Whitmore Bay in Barry, Aberdaron Beach and Tywyn beach in Gwynedd, due to failing rigorous water testing – although Nia Lloyd, from Keep Wales Tidy, explains that these beaches are still safe for visitors:
“It’s always disappointing to hear when sites lose their status, but I want to stress to the public that the water quality is still great there, it’s just dropped from excellent.”
Vale council director of environment and housing services, Miles Punter said despite the reassurance, they were extremely disappointed:
“We are extremely disappointed to lose the Blue Flag at Whitmore Bay, which is due to one anomalous water sampling result at odds with all other readings taken over a sustained period of time.
“Regrettably, of all the criteria for the Blue Flag accreditation, water quality is the one aspect that the Vale of Glamorgan Council has no influence over.
“We have been advised that there are a number of possible reasons for this reading, including an increase in animal presence on the day of sampling, and we are working with our partner agencies to investigate the cause.
“It is also important to stress that even at the time this sample was taken, water quality at Whitmore Bay was perfectly safe to bathe in and that remains the case.
“We have retained our Blue Flag at Penarth Marina and are confident Whitmore Bay will have its restored next year once new testing has been carried out.”
18 Beaches cited as ‘Hidden Gems’
18 beaches in Wales have gained the Green Coast Award, recognising the ‘hidden gems’ along our coastline. They include Silver Bay on Anglesey, after Silver Bay Holiday Village became the first private business to apply for a coast award on behalf of a beach.
A further 40 beaches have achieved the Seaside Award for their standard of water quality and facilities.
Lesley Jones, Keep Wales Tidy Chief Executive said:
“The 102 awards are a testament to the hard work of staff and volunteers who help care for our beautiful coastline and keep our waters clean throughout the year.
“The Wales Coast Awards play a vital role in protecting our precious marine environment and attracting visitors from around the world. We should all take great pride in the quality of our beaches and coastal areas.”
The full list of awards can be found here