Blue Flags, Green Coast Awards, and Seaside Awards
Having a beautiful coastline which attracts so many tourists and recreational users, or rivers that provide water that we use to supply our customers’ taps, is vitally important to our customers, businesses and communities and also delivers social and economic benefits
We are not responsible for directly managing our coastline and surrounding waters. But we know that we have our part to play in ensuring that our activities do not negatively impact on these areas.
Where possible, we always try to enhance these valuable natural resources and have made huge strides over the past 20 years in treating the wastewater that comes from homes before it is returned to the environment. Since the 1990s, we have invested over £1 billion on upgrading or building new wastewater treatment works across the area we serve. Before this, most wastewater was pumped, untreated back into the sea, leaving coastal waters, including areas used for bathing, below the high standards we have now come to expect.
47 beaches and marinas were awarded Blue Flags in 2016.
The Blue Flag campaign is administered in Wales by Keep Wales Tidy and in the UK by ENCAMS (Keep Britiain Tidy) on behalf of the FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education). Blue Flags have been flying at beaches throughout Europe and the UK since the campaign started in 1987, providing a comparison with coastal resorts across 22 countries.
Bathing Water quality must meet the highest, recommended European guideline standards and the beach must be clean, well-managed and promote sound environmental management.
Green Coast Awards
26 Welsh beaches were awarded a Green Coast Award in 2016.
The Green Coast Awards recognise beaches that are ‘hidden gems’ – the beautiful, untouched, rugged beaches that line so much of the Welsh coast.
The awards recognise excellent water quality and unspoiled environments, but unlike a Blue Flag Award beach, these sites won’t have the infrastructure and intensive management generally associated with more traditional seaside resorts.
The list of criteria for a Green Coast Award includes:
- The beach must comply with the ‘Excellent’ water quality standards of the Revised Bathing Water Directive;
- Dog and horse owners should be encouraged, by the provision of suitable facilities and literature at a central access point, to clean up after their animals when using the beach;
- Each Green Coast Award beach must have a guardianship scheme in place;
- Information on locally organised environmental activities and events should be made readily available to the public;
- Public access to the beach area must be safe and well-maintained.
92 beaches in Wales were awarded a Seaside Award in 2016.
The awards are split into two categories: Resort and Rural.
A Resort beach attracts many visitors and typically provides good facilities such as toilets access for disabled people, car parks and cafes.
A Rural beach may not offer these facilities but still has good water quality that is marked by the Seaside Award.