Drains are the key to getting flag back

A bid to win back a Blue Flag for Hunstanton beach will boil down to local residents using their drains properly, officials said yesterday. The popular seaside resort lost the coveted status earlier this year - along with Yarmouth - because its beach failed to meet the high standards asked for by Blue Flag officials.

A bid to win back a Blue Flag for Hunstanton beach will boil down to local residents using their drains properly, officials said yesterday.

The popular seaside resort lost the coveted status earlier this year - along with Yarmouth - because its beach failed to meet the high standards asked for by Blue Flag officials.

Now a gamut of agencies from the government down is battling to win back the prestigious flag

And it seems they believe a reason for sunny Hunny losing out is because of heavy rainfall flushing out surface drainage gullies onto the beach.

They now warn residents and caravan sites that putting by cooking oils, paints or even water from washing cars into the drainage systems they will exacerbate the problem.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said: “People do not always recognise where drains go. If you have got waste water it can still contain oil and you should not put it down a drain that goes out on to the beach.”

Most Read

Instead it should go into foul drains.

To tackle the problem the agency is looking at ways of monitoring outflow into the sea and is working with local council staff and resort staff on an initiative to discourage people tipping cooking oils and other pollutants into drainage systems.

Other agencies working on winning back the Blue Flag are Anglian Water, which has started investigations into possible sources of pollution and have also flushed out and repaired the Seagate outfall, and Norfolk county council highways officials, who have added extra gully cleaning to their normal programme of work.

West Norfolk Council has also increased its street and drain cleaning in the summer months.

Ray Harding, chief executive of West Norfolk Council, said: "We were disappointed when Hunstanton lost its Blue Flag, particularly as the water quality for the season as a whole was good and had achieved all the mandatory standards.

"Local business and members of the council all firmly believe that having Blue Flag status is important to the town in terms of marketing and attracting visitors.”

Chris Howes, from the Environment Agency, said: "We want to do everything we can to ensure that Hunstanton gets its Blue Flag back, but we really need the help and support of local people and businesses if we are going to be able to tackle all the potential causes of pollution and we are happy to provide any information or advice we can to interested individuals."

The Blue Flag programme is an eco-label awarded to more than 3,200 beaches and marinas in 27 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, new Zealand, Canada and the Caribbean in the past year.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter