Best in Britain: Six beaches in North Norfolk awarded prestigious Blue Flag status - but which is your favourite?
- Credit: Louise O'Shea
Beaches in North Norfolk are among the safest and cleanest in the country, it has been confirmed this week.
East Runton and West Runton have joined Cromer, Mundesley, Sea Palling and Sheringham in being awarded prestigious Blue Flag status.
The international quality mark recognises their high standards of cleanliness and safety, as well as the water quality.
North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) Leader Councillor Tom FitzPatrick said: 'This is fantastic news and confirms something we already knew – our wonderful and well-managed beaches are the best in the country.
'This is a great result given the amount of resources and services that need to be put in place in order to satisfy the strict criteria. Our staff have put in a tremendous effort in a bid to secure these Blue Flags, and all their hard work has paid off.'
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No other district in the country has more Blue Flag beaches than North Norfolk. And it is hoped the latest awards could attract even more visitors to the area, with the number of people visiting the District's beaches rising from 100,000 a year to 400,000 since they started being awarded Blue Flags.
The stunning success comes as the internationally-recognised awards celebrate their 30th birthday.
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Councillor Maggie Prior, NNDC's Cabinet Member for Leisure & Culture, said: 'This Blue Flags success is sure to prove a hit for the tourism industry and will help us attract even more visitors to our beautiful beaches and our wonderful coastline.'
As well as the six Blue Flags, the beach at Wells, which is owned by the Holkham Estate but jointly managed by NNDC and the RNLI, has won a Seaside Award, which means it guarantees visitors a clean, safe, attractive and well-managed coastal stretch.
Councillor Sarah Butikofer, Ward Member for the two new Blue Flag beaches at East and West Runton, said: 'I am delighted that both beaches in Runton have achieved Blue Flag status. It's a great achievement by the council, but it's also down in large part to the great work done by so many people in the community who take great pride in our beaches and help to keep them clean.'
Since the bathing water directive changed two years ago, it has become increasingly difficult to win a Blue Flag, as the water quality now has to be at 'excellent' rather than just 'good'.
Cornwall Council has picked up seven Blue Flags, but that council is a unitary authority covering the entire county and its 400-mile coastline. North Norfolk's six Blue Flag beaches all sit along the District's 45-mile coast.