The blue flag is flying high over Blackpool’s prized beach for the second year in a row.
The stretch of beach at South Shore has today, once again, been named in the prestigious global list of Blue Flag beaches.
The award recognises coastal destinations that boast the highest quality of water, facilities, safety, environmental education and management.
The beach, which is located opposite Blackpool Pleasure Beach, originally became eligible for Blue Flag status in 2015 after being classed as having ‘excellent’ sea water quality by the Environment Agency.
It went on to achieve the accolade for the first time last year.
John Blackledge, Blackpool Council’s director of community and environmental services, said: “Today’s news is the result of years of work to improve the quality of the town’s sea water. Everyone involved should be extremely proud.
“The Blue Flag is a sign to everyone that the beach is among the finest in the country and on a par with world renowned sites across the globe.
“This is another boost to our local economy as we secure our position as the UK’s number one seaside resort.
“It was wonderful news when the beach received its first Blue Flag. To retain that status this year is testimony to the ongoing heavy investment that is being made coupled with the hard work of many businesses, public sector partners, communities and hundreds of volunteers who have joined in with the LOVEmyBEACH campaign.”
The ‘LOVEmyBEACH’ campaign seeks to improve sea water quality in the North West, with hundreds of volunteers signing up for litter-picks on beaches across the Fylde coast.
Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, which oversees the Blue Flag award, said: “The success of Blackpool South in reaching the very high standards demanded by the Blue Flag is testament to all those who have worked so hard to create a fantastic beach for holiday-makers and locals alike.
“When you enjoy a day on the beach flying a Blue Flag, you know you are on one of the safest, cleanest and very best beaches in the country.”
Claire Smith, of hotels group StayBlackpool, said: “It’s marvellous. This is just fabulous news. It took such a lot to achieve it last year but you can’t become complacent, you’ve got to keep fighting the good fight.
“A Blue Flag means we have got one of the cleanest beaches in the world. When people read that we’ve got a Blue Flag they think ‘clean water, clean beach, clean town’.
“We have got all the attractions, all the entertainment and we’ve got one of the best beaches.
“It’s not just about visitors. As a resident I feel so proud because this has taken so many years and it has been a bumpy ride. I feel quite moved because I know how much work goes into these things.”
Peter Sedgwick, owner of Blackpool’s famous piers, said: “It’s very good for Blackpool. It’s good for businessses in the town as it will fetch more people in. It makes it a nicer place to come and have a holiday because the beaches are so clean.
“We have had bad reports in the past but we have overcome that, and Blackpool’s on the up.”
The good news comes as Wyre Council has revealed that four beaches in Fleetwood and Cleveleys will be flying flags this summer that distinguish them as among the best in the country.
Ferry Beach and Marine Beach in Fleetwood, and Rossall Beach and Jubilee Beach in Cleveleys have all been awarded Seaside Awards from Keep Britain Tidy for another year.
Mark Billington, service director for people and places at Wyre Council, said: “I’m absolutely delighted with this year’s awards that recognise how well-managed and maintained Wyre’s beaches are. They have been achieved with support from many residents who take part in community beach cleans along the coastline on a regular basis. Thank you to all those who continue to help look after our beaches.”
Wyre also has two bathing waters, designated outdoor swimming spots at Cleveleys and Fleetwood, which are both classified as ‘good’ in terms of water quality under tough European cleanliness standards.
Mr Billington added: “This really shows that we have both quality beaches and clean water, making Wyre’s coast an attractive and enjoyable place to live and visit.”