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Blue Flag Tourism Fears

Carbis Bay Hotel
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10:12am 20th May 2014
(Updated 10:12am 20th May 2014)

Life is not a beach in Cornwall.

Only one has kept its Blue Flag.

The internationally recognised symbol is awarded to stretches of sand that are sparkling clean with good water quality.

But now Polzeath, Porthtowan and Gyllyngvase at Falmouth have been stripped, after the Council said it could not afford to enter them.

In April, a spokesperson for County Hall said: "Cornwall Council, like other beach owners, has to pay to apply for Blue Flag status; consequently, we will not be applying for the Blue Flag this season on any of the sites that formerly used to have the award (Gyllyngvase, Porthtowan and Polzeath).  

"We will be replacing the Blue Flag with a Seaside Award on these sites for the forthcoming season. It is however important to reassure beach users that we will not be reducing standards of service on any of our beaches and will strive, as always, to keep them clean, safe and healthy."

The privately owned Porthmeor beach at St Ives has also lost out.

Carbis Bay has retained its award.

Stephen Baker runs the Carbis Bay Hotel which owns the beach: "It sends a clear message to all the visitors; we have some of the cleanest beaches in the world. It's down to how you marketing it and I think if we didn't have the Blue Flag awards I think it would damage the Cornish economy.

"We're very fortunate that we actually own the beach and we feel that it's a real asset to Cornwall. We're proud of its management, cleanliness and water quality and we feel that we should market it on that basis."

There are fears that having fewer Blue Flags will hit tourism in the Duchy.

But Ryan from TJ's Surf Shop at Polzeath disagrees: "I don't think it it'll change too much really. The fact that it's the coastline and there's beaches and there's good weather, most of the time anyway, that's enough to get people down here to enjoy themselves; there's loads of things to do still.

"With somewhere like Polzeath it's known for its beauty and its beaches and the coastline around it so I think that's enough to keep people coming back. If they already know that it's a nice place to go, I imagine that would bring people back year on year."

Polzeath, Porthtowan and Gyllyngvase have all been handed the Seaside Award instead.

It recognises and rewards beaches in England that achieve the highest standards of beach management and, in the case of bathing beaches, meet guideline water quality.

Across the UK, 168 beaches received an award, with 56 beaches gaining the Blue Flag and 112 picking up the Seaside Award; 23 of the beaches have received both awards.

Richard McIlwain, Programmes Director for the charity Keep Britain Tidy, which is responsible for the Blue Flag and Seaside Awards in England, said: "It's fantastic news for everyone who loves visiting the seaside that more than 160 beaches will be flying a flag that guarantees the public the best facilities and the cleanest beaches this summer.

"Keep Britain Tidy is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee and over the past 60 years we have tirelessly campaigned to improve the quality of our local environment. We have some fantastic coastline and we know that communities up and down the country love their beaches. They provide opportunities for people to get outside, relax and have fun for free, while visitors to our beaches often provide support for local jobs and inward investment at sea-front resorts.

"We know that for many holiday-makers and daytrippers clean, safe beaches, with good water quality and facilities are important factors in deciding which beach to visit and the continuing quality of management at these beaches is a real testament to the dedication, hard work and investment that local authorities and other beach managers put in year after year.

"The sight of the Blue Flag or Seaside Award flying gives visitors the reassurance that they’ll have a great time."

10:12am 20th May 2014

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