FIVE Southend beaches have been named among the best at the international Blue Flag awards.

Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy has announced the winners of the prestigious Blue Flag and Seaside Awards for summer 2023.

Southend has been awarded five Blue Flag Awards which is the most to any council area in the East of England.

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Those beaches were East Beach Shoebury, Shoebury Common, Thorpe Bay, Three Shells Beach, and Westcliff Bay.

Blue Flag is an international award that is only presented to well-managed beaches with water quality defined as “excellent” under the EU Bathing Water Directive and environmental education programmes.

There were also eight Southend beaches that received a Seaside Award. Those beaches were Chalkwell Beach, Jubilee Beach, Thorpe Bay Beach, Three Shells Beach, Shoebury Common Beach, East Beach Shoebury, Bell Wharf Beach, and Westcliff Bay.

Seaside Awards are presented to the best beaches in England and celebrate the quality and diversity of our coastline.

Carole Mulroney, Liberal Democrats councillor responsible for environment, culture, and tourism, said: “I am delighted that our beaches have won these prestigious awards because it means residents and visitors to a beach flying a Blue Flag or Seaside Award can be assured the beach will be clean, safe, and meet the highest environmental standards, as well as international bathing water quality standards.

“Congratulations to everyone, including our wonderful team of volunteers, who help to maintain Southend’s beaches all-year round to ensure they meet the stringent criteria required to be named amongst the best and cleanest beaches in the country.”

Among the criteria beaches are assessed against are:

  • Safety and services, such as first aid, lifeguards where necessary.
  • Environmental information including displaying details about local eco systems.
  • Water quality – Blue Flag beaches must meet the ‘excellent’ water quality standard as set out in the EU bathing water directive and Seaside Award winners must meet the 'sufficient’ standard.
  • Environmental management, including litter and waste.

Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, chief executive at Keep Britain Tidy, said: “The Blue Flag is the world’s most recognised award for beaches and marinas and, to qualify, each applicant must meet and maintain a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety and accessibility criteria.

“We would therefore like to recognise and applaud all those who have worked so hard to protect and improve some of our best-loved and most popular beaches.

“The collective efforts of beach managers, volunteers, residents, and businesses all contribute to the success of these sites in achieving the incredibly high standards demanded.”