The Blue Flag is an environmental award given to Beach Operators who make a special effort to manage their coastal water environment and beaches. To attain the Blue Flag, Beach Operators have to meet a number of criteria covering environmental information and education, environmental management, safety and services, water quality.
Blue Flag is a respected, international award scheme which acts as a guarantee to tourists that a beach or marina they are visiting is one of the best in the world.
It is awarded annually to coastal destinations which have achieved the highest quality in water, facilities, safety, environmental education and management. It is highly coveted and over the years it has acted as an incentive to many beach managers to improve the quality of the coast and this has led to a revival of the UK coastline and beaches around the world. Each year the number of beaches and marinas gaining Blue Flag status increases - with 3,850 now displaying the quality indicator in 48 countries. In 2013 there are 55 beaches in England with Blue Flag Awards.
In England the Blue Flag Award Programme is administered by Keep Britain Tidy. Separate administration arrangements exist in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. International Blue Flag is run by The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). Keep Britain Tidy also award a Quality Coast Award.
To keep up the high standards, awards are made each year and cover the bathing season, May to September. To be eligible for the Blue Flag, a bathing beach must fulfil all criteria. The Blue Flag should be removed if any criterion is no longer being met. In addition, the National and International Juries reserve the right to refuse the Blue Flag to beaches that are found to be either in violation of national environmental regulations or otherwise act in discord with the objectives and spirit of the Blue Flag Programme. The beach should have designated bathing water status and monitored and identified under the Bathing Water Directive 76/160/EEC.
Self-catering cottage holidays in the UK and Ireland can still be a green option. You can have the comforts of home and the flexibility to do what you want; when you want - without the hassles of air travel!