Page last updated at 15:20 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 16:20 UK

Clean Fife beaches win top awards

Elie Seafront (Courtesy undiscovered Scotland)
Elie has retained its blue-flag status while others have won and lost

Fife Council has been officially awarded five European blue-flag awards for its clean beaches.

The Leven East beach was handed the accolade for the first time, with flags also going to Aberdour, Burntisland, Elie Harbour and St Andrews west sands.

Only one other Scottish beach, Montrose, has managed to secure the prestigious blue-flag symbol.

In England, 82 beaches were recognised with the award, which records both cleanliness and facilities available.

The blue-flag award is recognised in 37 different countries throughout Europe.

More than 3,000 are awarded annually, but amenities like toilets have to be provided along with good water quality.

A grading system for recognising the quality of Scottish beaches has been devised by the Keep Scotland Beautiful campaign.

Five out of the six in Scotland is just such great news and reflects the standard achieved by the council staff and the communities
Cllr Frances Melville

A total of 61 beaches have been given the "seaside award".

John Summers, of Keep Scotland Beautiful, told the BBC Scotland news website: "There are some in the Highlands that we would like to get on board and I think they are working quite hard to do that and in the west of Scotland, in the Troon and Ayrshire areas, so it will be good to have more areas but well done to Fife for the ones they have.

"The blue flag is the creme-de-la-creme of beach awards in the world. It's about quality, it's about cleanliness and it's about safety and the public having a good experience when they come to visit the beach.

"They [Fife Council] look after their beaches and they put investment into their beaches to make sure they are worthy of a blue flag award," he added.

Water quality

Despite Leven receiving its first blue flag, Fife has the same number as last year.

Water quality problems stripped St Andrews east beach of its flag.

Provost of Fife, Cllr Frances Melville, said: "Five out of the six in Scotland is just such great news and reflects the standard achieved by the council staff and the communities.

"Leven has done particularly well. Yes, we are sad that we have lost east sands but that was a water quality problem which is outwith our control.

"Maybe next year we might have six if we get east sands back."

Gwen Powland, who was at the Leven beach with her fiance and two children, was one of the visitors who praised the sands.

She said: "The beach is really nice. There is a nice sandy bit and the amenities are great with a wee play park for the kids."

"We only come once a year but it's great."

Record number of 'bathing waters'
30 May 08 |  Highlands and Islands
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23 May 08 |  Highlands and Islands
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18 May 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Beach water quality takes a dive
26 May 05 |  Scotland

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