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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 April, 2004, 09:32 GMT 10:32 UK
UK beaches 'shedding tacky image'
Beach
Britain's beaches are becoming cleaner and safer, a study says
Britain's beaches are losing their "tacky" image and becoming cleaner and safer, according to a survey.

The study of 171 resorts by Encams, the group behind the Keep Britain Tidy campaign, awarded an average score of 80 out of 100 - up 13 since 1998.

An Encams spokesman said: "The tacky image of clapped-out facilities and polluted water has been confined to the dustbin of history forever."

Bournemouth Pier was named the UK's best beach with a score of 99.

Tourism

It is the second year in a row that Bournemouth, which has seven miles of beaches, including the stretches either side of the pier, has won the award.

Bournemouth senior seafront inspector Brian Cummings said: "We are really proud of the results.

Top 10 beaches
1 Bournemouth Pier, 99 points
2 Bridlington, Filey, Scarborough, all 96
5 Burnham on Sea, Dawlish Warren, both 94
7 Clacton, Weymouth, Eastbourne, Ramsgate, all 93

"We all work very hard in order to achieve the best standards possible.

"But there are always more improvements to make which we will be working on for the future, but we're looking forward to another good summer."

Three Yorkshire beaches - Bridlington, Filey and Scarborough - came joint second with 96 points.

The rest of the top 10 was made up of beaches in the south of England.

Revamp

Encams chief executive Alan Woods said the cleaner beaches could mean a big increase in tourist numbers - but only if there was also an investment in seaside towns and some imaginative marketing.

"Sadly, the progress on the beach often hasn't been matched away from it.

Beach in Bournemouth
Better beaches can lead to a rise in tourism, it is claimed
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"Many coastal towns are in need of some serious regeneration, as well as a total revamp of their image.

"Clean beaches are going to attract visitors with money to spend, so let's see some cash pumped into our seaside towns and help them make the most of this awards boost."

This year's total of 375 seaside awards, which includes Blackpool for the first time, is a new record and is 282 more than when the awards began in 1992.

The beaches were awarded points for the levels of cleanliness, water purity, safety, access and facilities.


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