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Fears loss of Blue Flag status could hit Cornwall's tourism economy

By DaveCDM  |  Posted: May 20, 2014

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The number of prestigious 'Blue Flag' beaches in Cornwall has dropped to just one after councillors refused to fund applications for the awards.

The scheme judges beaches for water quality, safety and environment management of beaches, have been announced today with the South West able to boast the most award-winning beaches in the country.

However, where last year there were five Blue Flag being flown, this year there is only one in Cornwall, at the privately owned Carbis Bay beach.

Cornwall Council said it had not applied for any Blue Flags this season at sites which previously had them, which according to Visit Cornwall was Porthmeor in St Ives, Porthtowan, Polzeath and Falmouth's Gyllyngvase beach.

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Instead, the county has three Seaside Awards, a nationally recognised standard, at Falmouth, Polzeath and Porthtowan.

In contrast Devon has eight beaches which have been awarded a Blue Flag, four of them in Torbay.

Richard Gates, town centre manager at Falmouth, where Gyllyngvase Beach was given a Seaside Award, said it was a real disappointment.

“We think it is very important,” he said.

“It is an international recognised standard and a lot of people do take notice.”

He said that Falmouth was going to take charge of the application process next year to ensure it’s beautiful beaches were appropriately recognised.

The Blue Flag scheme is administered by Keep Britain Tidy on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education, while the Seaside Award is the campaign group’s own designation.

As well as its Blue Flag beaches, Torbay also has 10 with Seaside Awards, often considered a stepping stone to the higher award.

The spokesman added: “Out of England’s 168 award winning beaches, Torbay holds second place in the combined total number of Beach Awards in any one area, given by Keep Britain Tidy.

Cornwall Council said that this year it had not applied for any Blue Flags on sites that used to have the award as it had to pay for the bid.

A spokesman said the authority wanted to reassure beach users that services were not being reduced and the facilities were clean and safe.


Carbis Bay


Gyllyngvase, Falmouth

Polzeath, North Cornwall

Porthtowan, Cornwall

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  • Scrumpymonkey  |  May 20 2014, 10:18AM

    When the council are having to cut back on social care, I can understand their decision not to pay for the blue flags. Absolutely ludicrous that they have to pay for them in the first place. Surely as one of the most deprived areas in Europe, the European Council should be funding these water quality and beach checks to ensure the maintenance of the tourist industry in Cornwall. On the flip side, do visitors really worry about blue flag status? It would be interesting to find out.

    |   6
  • Lafrowda  |  May 20 2014, 10:09AM

    Do you mean to say Blue Flags are only for those able to pay ? That defeats the purpose of rewarding clean beaches with recognition.

    |   11
  • ramehead  |  May 20 2014, 10:05AM

    Wonder how Whitsand Bay in SE Cornwall got on? 8 million tonnes of Tamar river sludge dumped there over the decades and the archaic practice is allowed to continue. Money v Environment! Guess who always wins?

    |   5