Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Thursday, 13 May 2010 11:53 UK

Resorts across England awarded beach blue flags

Oddicombe beach, Torbay
Beaches were judged on water and facilities

The resorts of Torbay in Devon and the Isle of Wight have received 14 awards each for the cleanliness of beaches and bathing water in a survey.

They are two of 150 English beaches which received Blue Flags and Quality Coast Awards (QCAs) from anti-litter campaign group Keep Britain Tidy.

Torbay has four flags and 10 QCAs, the Isle of Wight three flags and 11 QCAs.

Keep Britain Tidy said the awards showed that England's beaches were "fabulous places to visit".

This year has seen a slight decrease in awards to beaches, with Blue Flags awarded to 70 beaches this year, one less than last year.

[People] are discovering a renewed love for our glorious coastline and quality resorts
Phil Barton, Keep Britain Tidy

QCAs, which focus more on facilities and beach environment, were awarded to 111 sites, compared to 113 in 2009.

However, of those recognised this year, 32 beaches received both the Blue Flag and a QCA, Keep Britain Tidy said.

Highly-placed coastal resorts included Scarborough and Thanet, gaining a total of 11 and 10 awards respectively.

Regions in the north of England saw a marked upswing in beaches included on the list.

In the North East, the number of Blue Flags nearly doubled, while Cumbria helped boost the figures for the North West, receiving four QCAs in Copeland.

The awards come amid an increase in people holidaying at home. Last year saw a 13% rise in the number of people taking a break in England, according to figures from Visit England.

Keep Britain Tidy chief executive Phil Barton said the awards were important standard bearers as more people used beaches.

He said: "As more and more people decide to swap trips abroad for the convenience of holidays at home, they are discovering a renewed love for our glorious coastline and quality resorts."

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