Keep Wales Tidy has unveiled the 91 sites across the country that have met the high standards needed to receive the prestigious Blue Flag, Green Coast Award and Seaside Award – a total of 149 awards for Wales.
This year’s announcement is particularly special as it marks the 30th anniversary of Blue Flag in Wales. For three decades, the Blue Flag programme, which is owned by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), has had a transformational impact on water quality, environmental awareness, protection, safety and services. During this time, it has become a world-renowned eco-label with more than 4,400 award-winning sites in 45 countries.
Cefn Sidan in Carmarthenshire was the only site to achieve Blue Flag status when the programme launched in Wales in 1988. In the three decades since, this number has soared to 47, including three award-winning marinas and one boat tour operator, meaning Wales has more Blue Flags per mile than anywhere else in the UK.
Minister for Environment, Hannah Blythyn said:
“We’re lucky in Wales to have some of the World’s finest beaches right here on our doorstep. It’s fantastic to see so many of our beaches receiving these awards, which is testament to the work being done by our partners and communities across Wales to keep our beaches and waters clean.
“The Blue Flag is a mark of the high coastal environment standards which is trusted around the globe. 2018 is Wales’ Year of the Sea and with the Volvo Ocean Race coming to Cardiff next month, this is a great time to show our fantastic coastline to the World.”
A further 19 beaches in Wales have gained the Green Coast Award – recognising the ‘hidden gems’ along our coastline – and a total of 83 beaches have achieved the Seaside Award for their good water quality and facilities.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Elis-Thomas, said:
“Year of the Sea 2018 is the perfect time to celebrate the success of the past 30 years of the Blue Flag programme – and gives us a fantastic opportunity to make the most the fact that we have more Blue Flag beaches per mile than anywhere else in Britain. This is a fantastic achievement and a true team effort and shows how Wales is committed to safeguarding our amazing natural assets for visitors and those who live here.”
This year’s biggest winner is Pembrokeshire, which has achieved a total of 56 Coast Awards (11 Blue Flags, 14 Green Coast Awards and 31 Seaside Awards).
Speaking about the significance of the awards, Lesley Jones, Keep Wales Tidy Chief Executive said:
“As we celebrate 30 years of Blue Flag in Wales, it is important to recognise the importance of the awards in attracting tourism to support the local economy, giving our communities a rightful sense of pride and promoting environmental awareness and protection. Congratulations and a massive thank you to everyone involved in managing and caring for our coastline; ensuring that the Welsh coast continues to be a wonderful place for visitors and local people alike, and that our precious environment is protected and cherished.”
A full list of awards can be found on the Keep Wales Tidy website: www.keepwalestidy.cymru