Four beaches in Norfolk and Suffolk are set to hoist coveted Blue Flags over their seafronts after winning the top accolade for their facilities and cleanliness.

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There were also seven Seaside Awards which are also a hallmark of high standards.

North Norfolk led the regional Blue Flag charge with successes at Cromer, Sheringham and Sea Palling, and was joined by Lowestoft’s South Claremont Pier.

They are among 55 Blue Flags awarded across the nation by Keep Britain Tidy. The figure dropped from 79 last year due to having to meet new tougher international bathing water demands this year - as well as being clean, safe and promoting environmental information.

Blue Flag beaches now have to provide information to beach users about where to find advising where they can obtain real time information on discharges from nearby combined sewage overflows, if that discharge could temporarily affect the bathing water quality.

The 113 Seaside Awards are up on the 99 of their predecessor Quality Coast Awards. They also mark good beach management, but a slightly lower bathing water standard. Local winners are: Hunstanton Main, Mundesley, East Runton, Lowestoft North Claremont Pier, Southwold Pier, Southwold Denes and Kessingland.

Organisers said the number of beaches flying the Blue Flag, despite the stricter demands, was testament to the fantastic work being done to improve water quality around the coast.

Keep Britain Tidy operations director Richard McIlwain said: “Holiday-makers and daytrippers want to visit clean, safe beaches and the sight of the Blue Flag or Seaside Award flying gives them the reassurance that they will.”

In North Norfolk John Lee, district council cabinet for environmental, leisure and cultural services, said: “We are delighted that three of North Norfolk’s Blue Flag resort beaches have retained their awards this year and that East Runton has achieved the new Seaside Award.

“This confirms the district as a wonderfully clean, tidy and safe place to live and to visit, with some of the best seaside resorts anywhere.”

In Waveney, the district council’s cabinet member for leisure, tourism and economic development, Bruce Provan, said: “I am delighted that Waveney’s beaches are getting the accolades they deserve, and this is just reward for the council teams and Waveney Norse who play a key role in upkeep and maintenance of our resorts and facilities. Yet again this news will be a big boost for tourism in the area, highlighting the quality and safety of our resorts.”

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