Page last updated at 05:50 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 06:50 UK

Tourism hope over record 45 beach flags in Wales

Poppit Sands, Pembrokeshire Photo: Suzanne Pask
Poppit Sands is one of Pembrokeshire's 13 Blue Flag beaches Photo: Suzanne Pask

Tourism in Wales could be given a boost after a record 45 beaches and five marinas in the country were given Blue Flags status, Keep Wales Tidy says.

The organisation's annual environmental awards rate beaches for clean water, litter-free shores, good facilities and safety standards.

Pembrokeshire tops the list with 13 beaches and marinas earning blue flags.

Chief executive Lesley Jones said the awards could help Wales take advantage of more people holidaying in the UK.

This year's Blue Flag total compares to 38 flags in Wales last year and sees eight beaches returning to the list, although Tywyn misses out due to infrastructure works.

BLUE FLAG LIST 2010
Pembrokeshire (13) Amroth, Broadhaven North, Coppet Hall, Dale, Lydstep, Newgale, Newport, Poppit Sands, Saundersfoot, Tenby Castle, Tenby North, Tenby South, Whitesands
Gwynedd (8) Abersoch, Barmouth, Criccieth-Traeth y Promenad, Dinas Dinlle, Fairbourne, Pwllheli-Marian-y-De, Pwllheli Marina, Caernarfon Marina
Anglesey (7) Benllech, Church Bay, Rhydwyn, Llanddona, Llanddwyn, Porth Dafarch, Treaddur, Holyhead Marina
Ceredigion (5) Aberporth, Borth, Llangrannog, New Quay- Harbour Beach, Tresaith
Conwy (4) Llandudno North Shore, Llandudno West Shore, Llanfairfechan, Penmaenmawr
Swansea (5) Bracelet Bay, Caswell Bay, Langland Bay, Port Eynon Bay, Swansea Marina
Bridgend (2) Rest Bay, Trecco Bay
Carmarthenshire (2) Cefn Sidan, Pendine
Vale of Glamorgan (2) Whitmore Bay and Penarth Marina
Denbighshire (1) Prestatyn
Neath Port Talbot (1) Aberavon
Source: Keep Wales Tidy

Heavy rain was blamed for having a knock-on effect on water quality for the 2009 list, which was down four beaches on the previous year.

Bad weather can lead to more pollution reaching the sea from farms and industry through rivers and streams.

Returning to the list are Cefn Sidan, Pendine, Llandudno West Shore, Criccieth, Amroth, Broadhaven North, Newport Sands and Barmouth.

After Pembrokeshire at the top of the list, Gwynedd follows with eight beaches and Anglesey with seven.

Ms Jones, of Keep Wales Tidy, which manages the Europe-wide scheme in Wales, said: "Experts predict that due to the current economic climate more people will be choosing to spend their holidays in the UK.

"With a record number of beaches and marinas in Wales achieving Blue Flag status we are well positioned to announce that a trip to our coast will be a quality experience."

'Lifeblood'

She said investment by local authorities and Welsh Water over the past decade meant that Wales now had a "wide choice" of beaches along its 750-mile coastline.

Roger Harris is landlord of the Amroth Arms near Amroth beach in Pembrokeshire, which lost its blue flag two years ago but has now regained it.

He said: "We're very pleased - it most definitely had an impact.

"People today do look at websites to find the beaches that they can go to with safety and that was taken away with one really bad test result.

"We've got a beautiful beach which is very safe for children to be on as it's very flat and there are no tidal rips. It's a perfect beach for families and when you take away the blue flag it takes the lifeblood of the community."

Environment minister Jane Davidson, who will be in New Quay, Ceredigion, later to unfurl its blue flag, said: "This is an achievement we can all be proud of and is a demonstration of the excellent natural quality of Welsh beaches.

"The blue flags are also the result of a great deal of hard work by organisations and volunteers throughout Wales who help to maintain the high quality of our beaches and the waters around our coast."



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SEE ALSO
Drop in Blue Flag beach numbers
06 May 09 |  England
Blue-flag beach off-road warning
02 Mar 09 |  South West Wales
Blue Flag goes to unlikely beach
22 May 08 |  Wales politics

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