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Thanet retains Blue Flag crown with a new award for Ramsgate

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Thanet still boasts the southeast's most Blue Flags, the international mark denoting the world's best beaches.

There's little change from last year although one Thanet destination - Westbrook Bay - has lost its Blue Flag, but gained a Seaside Award - Keep Britain Tidy’s own gong highlighting top cleanliness standards.

Another Thanet beach - Ramsgate Main Sands - has been upgraded to a Blue Flag since 2014 when it received a Seaside Award.

Botany Bay
Botany Bay

Outside Thanet, both Sheerness and Tankerton have kept their awards.

Overall Kent has retained nine Blue Flags, and the benefits of having the accolade were spelt out by visitors and locals alike in Broadstairs.

Cliff Rose, 57, from Sittingbourne, said: "It's a nice to have clean beaches, I'm all for not allowing dogs on the beaches during the summer period.

Roy Irving, from Broadstairs, said: "I think it can help with tourism, it's better than simply saying it's a beach.

"Tourism is important to Broadstairs. Anything that attracts people, that brings people to the area, is a good thing."

Mr Irving's point is underlined by visitor Brian Matthews, who is visiting Kent from Cambridge.

Mr Mathews, 62, said: "This is the second time I've been to Kent. If I knew the beaches were going to be clean I'd come more often.

"It's a good thing because there are some dodgy beaches about. If it says the water is going to be healthy then parents will know it's ok to let their children go swimming."

Helen Binghams from Keep Britain Tidy said: "It's a fantastic result for Kent and it means that both residents and visitors to the county will be guaranteed a great beach with good facilities and good bathing water quality.

"Kent's beaches are really good quality and the number of flags that are flying there are testament to the amount of hard work everyone is putting into it.

"The message is great beaches, safe beaches, clean and litter-free, with good facilities."

But it's not just holiday makers and day trippers who will be pleased Kent has retained a large number of flags.

The high-profile quality mark is beneficial to businesses who rely on the tourist trade, especially during the summer.

Ms Binghams said: "It's a message that's a great place to go on holiday, it's a great place for day trips, and it means you're going to get more people coming to spend money there."

According to Keep Britain Tidy, England can now boast more Blue Flag Award-winning beaches than Cyprus or Mexico and now ranks in the Top Ten in the world for beaches that meet the very high standards set for the award.

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