Beaches retain Blue Flag status

Beaches across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) have retained their Blue Flag status this summer after the tourism and hospitality sector partnered with BCP Council.

Of the 72 UK locations to receive an award, 12 were granted to beaches in the BCP area, meaning one in six Blue Flag beaches are located in our region.

Retention of the Blue Flag awards will continue to see the region identified as one of the world’s outstanding coastal resorts.

The BCP area has also been granted 14 additional Seaside Awards, celebrating the quality and diversity of our coastline.

This has been made possible by the generous support of businesses and organisations including Bournemouth Coastal Business Improvement District (BID); Bournemouth Town Centre BID; Poole BID; Christchurch BID; Fired Up Collective; SOBO Beach; The Beach House, FJB Group; Rockwater; Noisy Lobster and Highcliffe and Walkford Parish Council, who have worked together to fund the applications which cost a total of £14,085.

Beaches at Alum Chine; Durley Chine; Fisherman’s Walk; Southbourne; Sandbanks; Shore Road; Canford Cliffs; Branksome Chine; Manor Steps; Avon Beach; Highcliffe and Friar’s Cliff are set to continually benefit from being recognised as Blue Flag locations.

Described by Keep Britain Tidy as an ‘international award presented to well-managed beaches with excellent water quality and environmental education programmes’, the awards rely on ongoing work and investment in seafront maintenance, protection and development.

Councillor Millie Earl, Deputy Leader of BCP Council and Portfolio Holder for Connected Communities, said:

“We are proud to have our beaches recognised as Blue Flag locations for another year, highlighting the outstanding qualities of our beautiful coastline.

“Every day, an exceptional amount of work goes into ensuring our beaches meet Blue Flag criteria, and this achievement is testament to the joint effort of the council, its partners, local businesses and organisations, who have united to retain these prestigious awards.

“We are fortunate to have such a breath-taking stretch of coastline on our doorstep and ask our visitors to help us stay award-winning by picking up their litter, leaving only footprints and protecting our environment for generations to come.”

Last year, BCP Council spent over £2.2 million on beach cleansing, waste disposal, toilets and seafront issues, with dedicated staff working year-round to maintain our award-winning coastline, as well as welcoming and supporting 7.5 million annual visitors.

The council also collaborates with The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and volunteer lifeguards to promote public safety, while its Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) team has secured over £40 million in funding to tackle flooding and coastal erosion; protecting our beaches for future generations.

Prioritising the delivery of a balanced budget for 2024/25, BCP Council has been working hard alongside its tourism and business partners over the last year to identify the funding required to apply for the awards.

Andy Lennox, Chair of Destination Management Board (DMB) and founder of Fired Up Collective, said:

“We are delighted to have secured the funding for these iconic awards across the BCP area. Our beaches play a fundamental role in our economy as well as our lives and to uphold the environmental, sustainable and educational credentials associated with Blue Flag for another year is something to be proud of; enhancing BCP’s world class status for tourism.

“The Fired Up Collective is committed to the preservation of our beautiful coastline and beaches. The outstanding natural beauty of the conurbation is what underpins the flow of visitors to our area, and we are proud to operate businesses in a place of such global appeal. Sponsoring one of Bournemouth’s iconic Blue Flags reiterates our commitment to the area.”

Fiona McArthur, Bournemouth Coastal BID Manager, added:

“The four BIDs within the conurbation recognise the importance of our beaches to the local economy, attracting both residents and visitors to the three towns. We have worked together to ensure that our beaches benefit from these accolades, and we will continue to do so.

“These are some of the best beaches in the UK and they deserve to be recognised as such, this legacy needs to be protected for future generations.”

The three towns currently hold 12 Blue Flags in total, more than any other UK destination. In 2022, 10.3 million day and staying visitors were attracted to the BCP area and its coastline, generating £914 million for the local economy.

To qualify for a Blue Flag award, beaches must satisfy standards in four categories, with 33 individual targets covering environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management, and safety and services.