Blue Flag Awards For South Coast Beaches

More than 50 beaches - including several on the South Coast - have met tough new standards to receive Blue Flag awards for this year.

The Isle of Wight picked up four, as well as 13 seaside awards - There were also Blue Flags for Swanage, Hayling Island and West Wittering.

Bournemouth and Poole were also handed four Blue Flags each.

They had to meet a new 'excellent' standard under EU rules - which all beaches will eventually be tested under.

Helen Bingham from Keep Britain Tidy told Heart:

"There is a new standard coming in but the international body that runs Blue Flag has actually brought that criteria in two years early. The standard that these beaches are at now is the standard that the European Bathing Water Directive brings in in 2015.

"To meet the new Blue Flag standard they had to be twice as clean as they had in previous years. So the beaches that have lost Blue Flags, they have not got any worse; it's just that the standard has now gone to the highest it can possibly be now.

"You've got some fantastic beach managers here who're doing an amazing job keeping the beaches to such a high standard. Congratulations to all of them, their hard work has really paid off; they should be really proud and everyone who lives there should be really proud of the beautiful beaches they have."