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The BBC's Jane O'Brien reports
"So far there have been very few reports of dog mess fouling Britain's beaches"
 real 56k

The BBC's Paul Greer
"There has been a massive rise in the number of four legged tourists fouling our beaches"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 5 June, 2001, 03:54 GMT 04:54 UK
Beach appeal to dog owners
Bournemouth beach
Britain's beaches can get busy in the holiday season
Dog owners have been asked to keep Britain's beaches clean for the holiday season by the Tidy Britain Group.

The call follows the announcement that 55 UK beaches have been awarded the European Blue Flag for clean water and sound environmental management.

The TBG says that with many footpaths closed because of the foot-and-mouth crisis, dog owners are flocking to the coast to exercise their pets.

The group wants people to walk their dogs in designated areas near Blue Flag beaches to avoid the growing threat of dog fouling.


As responsible dog owners we must make sure that we do not spoil [beaches] for others

Deana Selby
NCDL
Alan Woods, the TBG's chief executive, said: "Since the outbreak of foot-and-mouth, 10-times as many owners have been walking their dogs on the beach.

"Dog control is one of the most important criteria when attaining a Blue Flag, which is why every award-winning beach has a section where pets can be exercised away from the bathing area."

Deana Selby, of the National Canine Defence League, said: "We urge all dog owners to carry a poop scoop with them whenever their dog goes for a walk, and the beach is no exception.

'Doggy areas'

"Walking your dog on a beach is a real pleasure, and as responsible dog owners we must make sure that we do not spoil them for others.

"Blue Flag beaches with special doggy areas nearby are something we should be proud of, so let's make the most of them."

The Tidy Britain Group is urging holidaymakers to visit the beaches.


Britain has 55 of the very best beaches in Europe

Alan Woods
TBG
Mr Woods added: "Last year, around 27 million people visited the British coastline, spending nearly 5bn in the process.

"By publishing these results today, we are giving a guarantee to the public that Britain has 55 of the very best beaches in Europe and we are saying to everyone - if you get the opportunity, visit them.

"You'll have a good day out and will help our tourist industry in this time of crisis."

Standards improved

The European Blue Flag is awarded only to resorts that pass stringent inspections of beach management and safety.

Water must be clean enough to have achieved Guideline Standard - the highest defined by European Law.

Award winners can fly a Blue Flag during the bathing season, from the beginning of June to the end of September.

They must also display water quality and the facilities they provide on easy-to-read signs.

Standards in the UK have risen since 1992, when only 17 British beaches were awarded the Blue Flag.

Although this year's total falls short of the 57 Blue Flags achieved last year, Britain can still claim to have more top class beaches that 11 of its European partners.

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See also:

05 Jun 01 | UK
Blue Flag beaches 2001
30 May 00 | Sci/Tech
UK beaches in better shape
31 May 00 | UK
The tide is turning
27 Apr 00 | Sci/Tech
British beaches 'improving'
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