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Last Updated: Monday May 15 2006 15:25 GMT

Rise in number of 'clean' beaches

A beach in the UK

Loads of beaches in England and Wales have won a top beach award for being really clean.

This year 120 beaches were given a Blue Flag award for having clean water and sand to play in. They also got points for easy access to things like toilets.

Torquay did best, winning a whopping five awards, while Bournemouth, Poole and Southend took home four each.

But there was bad news for the East Midlands, which lost the three flags it held and now has no Blue Flag beaches.

Blue Flag awards 2006
East Midlands - 0 beaches (three fewer than 2005)
East of England - 18 (four more)
North East - 5 (no change)
North West - 1 (one more)
South East - 17 (five more)
South West - 30 (four more)
Wales - 43 (five more)
Yorkshire - 6 (one more)

The area with the most flags is south-west England, which now has a total of 30 beaches flying the flag - up four from last year.

The award is an international prize given to beaches all over the world.

Northern Ireland will reveal its Blue Flag results on 1 June and Scotland on 2 June.