Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Thursday, 5 June 2008 12:07 UK

Blue flag flies high on 'Riviera'

Torquay seafront
Torbay is a popular tourist area

The self-titled English Riviera has been highlighted as having some of the cleanest beaches in the country.

The popular tourist area of Torbay in Devon has been awarded blue flags for seven of its beaches by ENCAMS, which runs the 'Keep Britain Tidy' campaign.

The flags are given to beaches with good water quality and facilities, stringent safety measures and litter-free shores.

Out of 82 blue flags awarded around the UK Devon got 16 and Cornwall nine.

Devon beaches with blue flags
Blackpool Sands
Dawlish Warren
Sandy Bay
Breakwater Beach
Broadsands Beach
Goodrington South Sands
Meadfoot Beach
Oddicombe Beach
Paignton Beach
Preston Beach
Tunnels Beaches
Westward Ho!
Woolacombe Sands

Torbay council now has the second highest number of blue flag beaches in the country after Thanet in Kent.

Paignton Beach has made it onto the list for the first time and nearby Preston Beach has been reinstated after losing its blue flag status last year.

Councillor Jeanette Richards said: "This really is fantastic news. It will be particularly special to see a blue flag flying above Paignton beach for the first time.

"Our team works incredibly hard to keep all our beaches around Torbay clean and safe."

Cornwall beaches with blue flags
Carbis Bay
Sennen Cove

The highest scoring district council in Cornwall was Penwith in the far west of the county.

For the third year in a row it has been awarded blue flags for five of its beaches, which include the popular surfing beach of Polzeath and Sennen Cove, near Lands End.

Penwith's beach manager Sue Nicholls said: "We're delighted because from a tourism point of view it encourages people to come that bit further west.

"People are learning that the flags aren't just for good water quality but for the facilities we have to offer."

25% fewer beaches make the grade
23 May 08 |  Northern Ireland
Blue Flag goes to unlikely beach
22 May 08 |  Wales politics

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