BEACHES across Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole and Purbeck have once again scooped coveted Blue Flag awards.

Sandbanks achieved the international award again after receiving one every year since the scheme was launched 35 years ago.

Avon Beach, Highcliffe Beach and Friars Cliff achieved the accolade for the first time. 

Bournemouth Echo: Avon Beach. Picture: Stephen BathAvon Beach. Picture: Stephen Bath

In Bournemouth, Alum Chine, Durley Chine, Manor Steps, Fisherman’s Walk and Southbourne received the flags.

Bournemouth Echo: Durley Chine. Picture by Stephen Bath.Durley Chine. Picture by Stephen Bath.

Meanwhile, in Poole, Shore Road, Sandbanks, Canford Cliffs and Branksome Chine were honoured.

Bournemouth Echo:

Swanage Central has also been celebrated.

Bournemouth Echo:

This year, 36 beaches across the south west have met the high standard required to achieve Blue Flag awards. 

Blue Flag is an international award managed by Keep Britain Tidy on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education.

It is only presented to well-managed beaches with excellent water quality and environmental education programmes.

Among the criteria beaches are assessed against are: 

  • Safety and services, such as first aid, lifeguards where necessary 
  • Environmental information including displaying details about local eco systems 
  • Water quality – Blue Flag beaches must meet the ‘excellent’ water quality standard as set out in the EU bathing water directive and Seaside Award winners must meet the 'sufficient’ standard
  • Environmental management, including litter and waste 

All the Blue Flag Awards-winning beaches across Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole and Purbeck were also given Seaside Awards, along with Bournemouth Pier and Boscombe Pier.  

Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive, Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “The success of these beaches in reaching the very high standards demanded is testament to all those who have worked so hard to protect and improve our blue spaces – from beach managers and volunteers to local residents and businesses.

"The huge commitment needed to maintain marvellous beaches worthy of these awards cannot be underestimated. 

“People who visit a beach flying a Blue Flag or Seaside Award can be assured the beach will be clean, safe and meet the highest environmental standards, as well as international bathing water quality standards.” 

Councillor Mohan Iyengar, portfolio holder for tourism, leisure and culture, said: “We’re so proud of the number of awards we’ve received so far this year. The team works incredibly hard to care for our beaches and there has been a phenomenal amount of work done behind the scenes to roll out this year’s summer readiness plans."

"We consider ourselves lucky to be the guardians of such a breath-taking stretch of coastline and it’s great to know that Keep Britain Tidy have given us their stamp of approval.”