Page last updated at 10:41 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 11:41 UK

Award for five North East beaches

Tynemouth Longsands
Two of Tynemouth's beaches were awarded Blue Flags

Five beaches in the north east of England have gained a prestigious award for their facilities and clean water.

Blue Flag kite marks were given to Tynemouth King Edwards Bay, Tynemouth Longsands South, Whitley Bay, South Shields' Sandhaven and Roker.

However, Seaton Carew's Foreshore lost its award from 2008.

It did, however, win a Quality Coast Award (QCA), which is given to the best managed beaches which may not reach Blue Flag standards for water quality.

All the Blue Flag beaches also gained a QVA, as did as Cullercoats, Seaburn, and Cresswell.

The Blue Flag, awarded by Environmental Campaigns (ENCAMS), measures 29 criteria from accessibility for disabled visitors through to the number of bins provided, lifeguards and litter levels.

Councillor Bruce Pickard, cabinet member with responsibility for cleaner neighbourhoods for North Tyneside Council, which has three Blue Flag beaches and four QVA's said: "This is fantastic news for the thousands who enjoy our beaches every year.

"These awards are their guarantee that they're visiting beaches which are clean and attractive places to relax or have fun."

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