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Clean and green beaches rewarded

9 April 09 05:59 GMT

More than 40 Welsh beaches have been named in the latest "Green Coast" awards for unspoilt natural beauty.

The Keep Wales Tidy-backed award winners stretch from Kinmel Bay in Conwy down to Rhossili on Gower.

In total, 44 beaches have been recognised, with 16 sited in Pembrokeshire and 12 on Anglesey.

The announcement comes a day after conservationists warned that Welsh beaches are the second worse for litter in the UK.

But Thursday's proclamations on these latest beaches to be recognised praised them for their clean environment, and also reaching the highest standards of bathing water quality.

The awards are now in their 10th year after being developed by the Keep Wales Tidy campaign, and later expanding to cover Ireland.

They set out to reward more rural beaches that lack the built support structures of many mainstream resorts.

The awards also emphasise the local community involvement in the long term care of the beaches, whether that is collecting litter or identifying and preserving areas of ecological or historical significance.

Tegryn Jones, chief executive of Keep Wales Tidy, said: "Due to the world wide economic climate we are told that 2009 is going to be a bumper year for the tourism industry in Wales.

"This announcement confirms that the discerning beach visitor will be well catered for when they arrive.

"Visiting the award winning Green Coast Award locations, they will enjoy a beach experience far removed from the intrusions normally associated with the traditional and more urban beaches."

Litter

The awards will also be seen as a boost for Welsh beaches just a day after the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) warned that shoreline litter had reached its highest level ever, with Wales ranking second worse for the offence in the UK.

Volunteers working to tidy beaches in Wales recorded almost 50,000 litter items strewn across sand at 56 beaches in 2008.

The annual "Beachwatch" survey led the MCS to call for government agencies to develop an action plan for marine litter.

"The Welsh Beachwatch results demonstrate that litter levels on Welsh beaches are unacceptably high and this problem is not going disappear overnight," said Gill Bell, MCS Welsh Officer.

"MCS wants zero waste on Britain's beaches and our first goal is to halve the litter on Britain's beaches by 2015, but in order to achieve this we need statutory agencies appointed with the specific responsibility to stop marine litter and develop a marine action plan now."

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