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Seven beaches win prestigious award

Westbrook Bay was one of the seven beaches awarded a European Blue Flag
Westbrook Bay was one of the seven beaches awarded a European Blue Flag

SEVEN of Kent’s beaches have been officially recognised as being among the best seaside spots in Europe.

Coveted European Blue Flags are awarded to beaches with the best facilities, life-saving equipment and the cleanest water and sand.

This summer they will be flown at Margate main sands, Minnis Bay, Ramsgate main sands, Westbrook Bay, Birchington, Dymchurch, Herne Bay and Sheerness.

Four of the beaches are in Thanet. Brian Lear, Thanet council's acting strategic director, is not surprised by this latest recognition.

He said: “The Blue Flags are further recognition of the excellent quality of Thanet's coastline, which is already acknowledged as internationally important for conservation.

“These latest awards place Margate, Ramsgate, Westbrook and Minnis Bay amongst the top beaches in Europe. This is another encouraging boost for the area's tourism industry, which is already set to benefit from the new passenger air services into Manston.

“Coupled with the area's cultural and maritime heritage and the success of the Viking cycle trail, we have an excellent tourism product to offer to our visitors."

The Blue Flag is awarded to those beaches which comply with tough water quality guidelines and meet a series of other criteria, including education and information, environmental management and safety and services.

Each beach must provide public toilets, drinking water, access for disabled visitors and first aid facilities and they will have either lifesaving equipment provided or lifeguards on duty.

The four award winning beaches form part of the area's 26 miles of sandy coastline, which also boasts ten UK Seaside Awards, announced just before Easter, and four named in the Marine Conservation Society Good Beach Guide.

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