Although I personally love the remote beaches we have in the UK, lots do look for the family-friendly Blue Flag beaches. But do you understand what a beaches Blue Flag actually means?
Beaches are awarded the Blue Flag for one season at a time based on compliance with strict criteria. If the criteria are not fulfilled during the season or the conditions change, the Blue Flag may be withdrawn. The list is normally published in late May each year.
A high-level summary of the criteria is listed below.
Environmental Education and Information
- Information about the Blue Flag must be displayed.
- Environmental education activities must be offered and promoted to beach users.
- Information about bathing water quality must be displayed.
- Information relating to local eco-systems and environmental phenomena must be displayed.
- A map of the beach indicating different facilities must be displayed.
- A code of conduct that reflects appropriate laws governing the use of the beach and surrounding areas must be displayed.
- The beach must fully comply with the water quality sampling and frequency requirements.
- The beach must fully comply with the standards and requirements for water quality analysis.
- No industrial, waste-water or sewage-related discharges should affect the beach area.
- The beach must comply with the Blue Flag requirements for the microbiological parameter faecal coli bacteria (E.coli) and intestinal enterococci/streptococci.
- The beach must comply with the Blue Flag requirements for physical and chemical parameters.
- The local authority/beach operator should establish a beach management committee.
- The local authority/beach operator must comply with all regulations affecting the location and operation of the beach.
- The beach must be clean.
- Algae vegetation or natural debris should be left on the beach.
- Waste disposal bins/containers must be available at the beach in adequate numbers and they must be regularly maintained.
- Facilities for the separation of recyclable waste materials should be available at the beach.
- An adequate number of toilet or restroom facilities must be provided.
- The toilet or restroom facilities must be kept clean.
- The toilet or restroom facilities must have controlled sewage disposal.
- There should be no unauthorised camping, driving or dumping of waste on the beach.
- Access to the beach by dogs and other domestic animals must be strictly controlled.
- All buildings and beach equipment must be properly maintained.
- Coral reefs in the vicinity of the beach must be monitored.
- A sustainable means of transportation should be promoted in the beach area.
Safety and Services
- An adequate number of lifeguards and/or lifesaving equipment must be available at the beach.
- First aid equipment must be available on the beach.
- Emergency plans to cope with pollution risks must be in place.
- There must be management of beach users and events to prevent conflicts and accidents.
- There must be safety measures in place to protect beach users.
- A supply of drinking water should be available at the beach.
- At least one Blue Flag beach in each municipality must have wheelchair and accessibility features.
- Wheelchair access and accessibility features must be in place for at least one Blue Flag beach in each municipality.
For more detail take a look at the Blue Flag site.