• Anglian Water celebrates East Anglia’s booming tourism industry as 15 Blue Flag beaches awarded in 2016

The East of England is officially home to some of the world’s best and cleanest beaches. The news comes as this year’s winners of the 2016 Blue Flag and Seaside Awards are announced.

In total, 15 beaches from across the East of England were awarded Blue Flags.

Anglian Water said the results mean the East of England, including beaches in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Lincolnshire, is now home to nearly a quarter of Britain’s best beaches – all rewarded for their fantastic facilities, cleanliness and water quality – all of which is great for residents, visitors, businesses and the local economy, and will be contributing to the rise of East Anglia as one of the UK’s tourism hotspots.

Lucinda Gilfoyle, Anglian Water’s Coastal Strategy Manager, said: “The Blue Flag flying is a guarantee the beaches are great but crucially, the bathing waters meet the very highest international standards too. We’re really proud all bar one of the bathing waters in our large region have passed or exceeded the strict standards for water quality – a record we have maintained for the past 13 consecutive years.

“This year, 70 per cent of the bathing waters in our region achieved the highest ‘Excellent’ standard, even in the face of the much stricter European standards which were introduced in 2015.

“We have an enormous stretch of coastline in the East and caring for it is hugely important to us. This is why we run schemes like BeachCare – our volunteering programme to keep beaches clear of litter - and why we’ve been investing heavily in our coastal equipment for decades, including developing state-of-the-art monitoring systems and employing a dedicated Coastal Protection Team to prevent pollutants getting into the sea.”

Anglian Water has invested more than £350million in its coastal equipment and improvements over the last two decades, including in areas it’s not responsible for but which protect the coast for the greater community.

Anglian Water’s Coastal Protection Team is working with local partners to prevent pollution from run-off from getting into our much-loved seas.

Lucinda continued: “Coastal water pollution comes from a variety of sources, including bird mess, dog mess, chemicals, oils, pesticides, farm slurry and litter that wash off of roads, roofs, pavements, and farmland and into the sea when it rains. Misconnected drains on private homes are also a big issue across the UK and cause dirty water from toilets, sinks and washing machines to flow out to sea as if it were rainwater. These are cumulatively the biggest factor affecting the quality of our bathing waters today.

“We are working with local councils, businesses, farmers, and residents across the coastal region to pinpoint the causes of pollution and tackle them. We’ve set aside hundreds of thousands of pounds to do more of this partnership work which is having such a positive impact, especially in places like Southend where this year three beaches won new Blue Flags compared to last year.

“Tourism is a major contributor to the local economy. Recent report shows East Anglian tourism is booming and we want to work together to make sure our much-loved bathing waters and beaches remain open and a main attraction for decades to come.”

2016 Blue Flag Beaches
Central Beach, Mablethorpe
Central Beach, Skegness
Central Beach, Sutton on Sea
Sea Palling
Southwold Pier
Lowestoft South
East Beach Shoeburyness
Shoebury Common
Thorpe Bay
Dovercourt Bay
Frinton On Sea

Some Councils do not put in for Blue Flag Awards but their bathing waters are still excellent and meet the highest European standards.

These are:

Bathing waters with Excellent status
Humberston Fitties
Mablethorpe (Blue Flag)
Sutton-on-Sea (Blue Flag)
Moggs Eye
Anderby Creek
Chapel St Leonards
Skegness (Blue Flag)
Sheringham (Blue Flag)
East Runton
Cromer (Blue Flag)
Mundesley (Blue Flag)
Sea Palling (Blue Flag)
Great Yarmouth North
Great Yarmouth Pier
Great Yarmouth South
Lowestoft North
Lowestoft South (Blue Flag)
Southwold Pier (Blue Flag)
Felixstowe North
Felixstowe South
Dovercourt (Blue Flag)
Frinton-on-Sea (Blue Flag)
Brightlingsea (Blue Flag)
Shoebury East (New Blue Flag for 2016)
Shoeburyness (New Blue Flag for 2016)
Southend Thorpe Bay (New Blue Flag for 2016)
Southend Westcliff