17 May 2024


Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy has today announced the winners of the prestigious Blue Flag and Seaside Awards for summer 2024, and among them for the first time is Rutland Water. 

Rutland Water’s Sykes Lane beach is the first inland bathing water in England to have achieved the combined award status.  

The Blue Flag and Seaside Awards are aimed at improving the quality of England’s bathing waters (including inland sites such as Rutland Water) and promoting the country’s best beaches. 

Alongside the two awards announced today, Rutland Water already holds a prestigious Green Flag award, which recognises excellence within park management, biodiversity and heritage preservation.

Impressively, Rutland Water’s Sykes Lane will be the first and currently only Blue Flag accredited bathing water location within a Green Flag awarded site in England.

Announced today, Blue Flag is an international award, managed by Keep Britain Tidy on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education. It is only presented to beaches with water which has achieved the highest classification as set by the EU Bathing Water Directive and has an environmental education programme, while Seaside Awards are presented to the best beaches in England and celebrate the quality and diversity of our coastline. 

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. 

Rutland Water General Manager, Will Kirstein, comments: 

“There is enormous pride today at Rutland Water in achieving these prestigious awards.  Without doubt this is down to the care and passion and hard work and diligence of our entire team who work tirelessly to take  care of the environment and ensuring water quality is constantly the very best it can possibly be. 

“Sykes Lane beach will be open for bathing from May 25 and we look forward to hopefully a long warm summer and welcoming everyone to enjoy bathing here.”  

Typically, swimming isn’t allowed in most parts of the reservoir as its primary function is as a source of drinking water for people across the East of England. However, the beach at Sykes Lane has become a regular feature at the water park during the summer and is supervised by fully qualified lifeguards.  

Keep Britain Tidy’s Chief Executive, Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “These awards are a credit to the collective efforts of beach managers, volunteers, residents and businesses who have worked to maintain, protect and improve some of our best-loved and most popular beaches and we’d like to take this moment to recognise and applaud them.  

“Visitors to a beach flying a Blue Flag can be assured the beach will be clean, safe and meet the highest environmental standards, as well as international bathing water quality standards. 

“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.