Scarborough’s North Bay Beach has held on to its blue flag despite an earlier than expected introduction of higher assessment standards.
As this month saw the start of the official bathing season, environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy has announced the winners of its Blue Flag award scheme.
Nationally the number of beaches to received the coveted Blue Flag has dropped from 79 to 55 as tighter EU bathing water standards have been adopted by the charity.
However Scarborough’s North Bay was not one of those to fall foul of the raised bar, with Blue Flag losses instead at Filey, Bridlington North and South.
Scarborough’s South Bay received a Seaside Award, though it is not expected to achieve Blue Flag status until the completion of a £50 million project by Yorkshire Water to improve drainage in the area.
Speaking yesterday, when the Blue Flag awards were announced, Cllr David Chance, Scarborough Council’s Cabinet Member for Tourism and Culture said: “Today’s announcement is in the main what we expected, given that we lost the Blue Flag at Filey last summer due to the impact of extreme rainfall on water quality results at the time.
“We are delighted to have retained Blue Flags at Whitby and Scarborough North and obtained Seaside Awards for Filey, Scarborough South, Runswick Bay, Cayton Bay and Robin Hoods Bay.
“We are working closely with a number of partners in the Yorkshire Bathing Water Partnership, including Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency, Welcome to Yorkshire and East Riding of Yorkshire Council, to drive up water quality standards in the next few years and we are confident that we will be able to increase the number of Blue Flags flying along our coast.
“The current work Yorkshire Water is carrying out to its assets in Scarborough will, when complete, help to drive up water quality standards at Scarborough South and partners are working together in Filey to mitigate the adverse effect that wrongly connected plumbing and drains have on water quality.
“We would like to reassure all residents and visitors to our borough that the water quality at our beaches is still of a high standard and is safe but at Scarborough South and Filey, it just hasn’t met the very highest standard of bathing water quality required to obtain Blue Flag status.
“We are also dealing with the fact that water quality is now being measured against the new revised standards, implemented by the Federation for Environmental Education, which have been brought in two years ahead of schedule and are higher than previous standards.
“In the long term the benefits of these higher standards to both beach users and those businesses that rely on a healthy tourism economy are obvious and we are committed to doing all we can to ensure our beaches have the best chance of success in the future.”
Lee Pitcher, Yorkshire Water’s manager of treatment added: “We’re playing our part in making sure that Yorkshire’s beaches can meet bathing water standards in the future and therefore the opportunity for Blue Flag awards. While we’re disappointed that Yorkshire has fewer Blue Flags this season our focus is on delivering our £110 million investment for local sewerage systems. We have large-scale improvement schemes already underway in Scarborough.”