Portsmouth fail to apply for Blue Flag beach award as Hayling triumph

SUNSEEKERS People enjoying the hot weather on Southsea beach.      ''Picture Allan Hutchings (101605-940)
SUNSEEKERS People enjoying the hot weather on Southsea beach. ''Picture Allan Hutchings (101605-940)
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HAYLING Island has maintained its status of having one of the best beaches in Europe - but Portsmouth City Council failed to apply for a prestigious Blue Flag award.

Beachlands at Hayling was one of 70 beaches in the UK to win the internationally-recognised award - winning the flag for the 11th year running.

West Wittering beach will fly the flag yet again, as well as Bognor Regis beach, which has been awarded the flag this year after falling out of the elite group last year.

The award guarantees that the beach has top-notch facilities, is litter free and achieved an excellent standard of water quality.

Leah Turner, a councillor for Hayling Island, said: ‘I think it’s wonderful for Hayling.

‘Families want to see nice, clean beaches and they come to the areas where they know what they are getting.

‘I know how hard the staff work down there to keep it like that – it doesn’t just happen by accident. It’s something to be really proud of.’

Local authorities pay £660 to apply for the award.

The flag is used throughout Europe as a sign of the best bathing resorts.

Bognor had Blue Flag status in 2008 and 2009 but missed out last year because of a drop in water quality.

Portsmouth City Council did not make a bid for the Blue Flag for Southsea beach.

Three out of four of the water testing sites have excellent water quality, but one, near South Parade Pier, is only deemed good.

All four would need to be excellent to get the award.

Last year 71 beaches flew the Blue Flag. In 2002 there were only 45 beaches with the accolade.

Phil Barton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, responsible for the Blue Flag scheme in England, said: ‘Our beaches are wonderful places to visit and that’s official!

‘The continuing high standards of beaches are testament to the hard work carried out by beach managers throughout the year in order to provide clean and safe beaches for everyone to enjoy.’