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Last Updated: Friday, 4 June, 2004, 05:52 GMT 06:52 UK
Wales tops clean beach table
Borth beach, Ceredigion
Borth beach has regained its Blue Flag on the 2004 list
The Welsh coastline will fly more Blue Flags than ever before with 35 beaches reaching the highest standards of cleanliness.

The number of flags, which are awarded in Wales by the Keep Wales Tidy campaign, has risen from last year's 33.

Aberystwyth North, Cemaes, Southerndown, Trecco Bay, Tywyn and Borth beaches have joined the list.

But Rhos on Sea, Llandudno North, Llandudno West and Trearddur Bay have been left off this year's Blue Flag list.

The Blue Flag is awarded annually with beaches judged on 26 criteria including water quality, beach cleanliness, provision of information and services, life-saving equipment, dog control and environmental management.

Pembrokeshire - 9
Gwynedd - 7
Ceredigion - 6
Anglesey - 5
Swansea - 4
Bridgend - 2
Vale of Glamorgan - 1
Carmarthenshire - 1

Keep Wales Tidy assessors check each beach regularly to ensure that standards are maintained.

The Blue Flag is lost when the standards are not met.

This year, Wales has more clean beaches with 35 than any other area in the UK's total of 122.

The next highest total comes in the south west of England which has 25 Blue Flag beaches for 2004.

Keep Wales Tidy's national director, Tegryn Jones, said: "Visitors to the seaside make a vital contribution to the Welsh economy.

'Quality beaches'

"For them to return on a regular basis we must ensure that not only are standards maintained, but every effort must be made to make our beaches even better".

A Blue Flag hoisting ceremony is sue to tale place at 1100 BST on Friday at Trecco Bay, Porthcawl - one of 2004 list's new entries.

Welsh Environment Minister, Carwyn Jones, said: "I am delighted that a record 35 Welsh beaches will be flying Blue Flags.

"This year's results beat the previous record set last year when 33 beaches received this award.

"These awards show the quality that Wales has to offer, and prove that our beaches can compete with the very best in Europe."

Jonathan Jones, chief executive of the Wales Tourist Board, added: "With over 700 miles of coastline, quality beaches play a very important part in what Wales has to offer."

Increase in awards

The Blue Flag awards are organised across 23 European countries

The number of UK beaches to have won the cleanliness award has increased by more than 600% in the last decade.

When the UK first joined the scheme in 1987, just 12 beaches were presented with the award, rising to 17 in 1994.

This year total puts the UK in eighth position in the European table - higher than Croatia, Cyprus and Ireland.

Across Europe 2,310 beaches will raise Blue Flags above their cleanest beaches.

The high number of Blue Flag awards in Wales comes in the same week as water quality at Welsh beaches was praised in an annual survey by the European Commission.

Of Wales' 78 bathing water areas, 72 reached the strictest standards of water quality.

But the popular Llangrannog beach in Ceredigion was one of nine in the UK to have failed to make the grade.

Beaches with blue flag awards:

Vale of Glamoran (1): Southerndown.

Bridgend (2): Trecco Bay and Rest Bay, both Porthcawl.

Carmarthenshire (1): Pembrey Country Park (Cefn Sidan).

Pembrokeshire (9): Poppit Sands; Saundersfoot; Amroth; Lydstep; Newgale; Tenby South; Tenby Castle; Tenby North; St David's (White Sands).

Swansea(4):Bracelet Bay; Caswell Bay; Port Eynon and Langland Bay.

Ceredigion (6): Aberystwyth South; New Quay; Traeth y Harbwr; Aberporth; Tresaith; Aberystwyth North.

Gwynedd (7): Barmouth (Abermaw); Pwllheli (Marian y De); Dinas Dinlle; Abersoch; Fairbourne (Ffriog); Criccieth; Tywyn.

Anglesey (5): Cemaes (Traeth Mawr); Llanddwyn (Newborough); Trearddur Bay (Porth Dafarch); Llanddona; Benllech.

Beaches fail water test
02 Nov 03  |  North West Wales
French lesson for Welsh beaches
21 Sep 03  |  North West Wales

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