A Norfolk beach has been awarded the coveted Blue Flag for the quality of its bathing water for the first time.
Environment Agency scientists monitor bathing water quality by taking 20 samples from each of Britain’s bathing beaches between May 1 and September 30 each year.
Today the EA said all three of West Norfolk’s beaches had passed the mandatory water quality standard and Old Hunstanton had won Blue Flag status.
Ian Mears, the EA’s environment management team leader, said: “We are delighted with this achievement – not only have all three of our West Norfolk bathing waters passed the mandatory water quality standards, but Old Hunstanton has passed both of the tougher EU guideline and Blue Flag bacterial water quality standards for the first time.
“We want to ensure we continue to keep the EU guideline standard and Blue Flag standard water quality status for Old Hunstanton – not only is it good news for those living or spending their holidays on our coast, but it’s also great news for the wildlife and marine life living in the area.”
In 2007, 140 bathing waters in England and Wales were awarded a Blue Flag. They met the award scheme’s strict criteria for a Blue Flag award, including meeting the bathing water quality standards. The water quality criteria are similar to the European guideline standards but include an additional bacteria standard.