Nine of Kent's beaches scoop prestigious international Blue Flag awards in Thanet, Sheppey and Tankerton
Nine beaches in Kent have been named among some of the best in the world.
Thanet saw the highest number of bays receiving a prestigious international Blue Flag award, which commends those with the highest quality when it comes to being clean, safe and meeting tough water standards.
Minnis Bay, West Bay, St Mildreds, Margate Main Sands and Stone Bay in Broadstairs were all commended and awarded the flag, which is a scheme run by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).
However, 12 beaches - including some of the Blue Flag beaches, too - were given Seaside Awards which recognises beaches in England that achieve the highest standards of beach management and water quality.
These are Reculver, Herne Bay, Tankerton, Leysdown, Minster Leas, Sheerness and six in Thanet, including Botany. Joss Bay, Ramsgate Main Sands, West Bay, Westbrook Bay and Viking Bay.
Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, which administers the Blue Flag scheme and runs the Seaside Awards, says they are the quality marks for beaches and mean those visiting them can be sure they are clean, safe and meet the highest environmental criteria, as well as the tough international bathing water quality standards.
Chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: "This year, more than ever, we are going to be relying on our country’s beautiful beaches to escape for a much-needed break after all the stresses and strains of the past year.
"Last year, due to the pandemic, we did not have the opportunity to celebrate all the great award-winning beaches around the coast so this year we are delighted to have even more winners than we did in 2019, thanks to the incredible work of the teams around the country that make our beaches clean and safe for us all to enjoy.
"From environmental education for the community and ensuring responsible beach use, to cleaning regimes and an increasing number of recycling facilities, it is a full-time commitment to create beaches worthy of these awards.
"As we all plan our 2021 holidays much closer to home, thanks to the Blue Flag and Seaside Award those choosing to holiday in South East near one of its award-winning beaches can be assured it will be clean and safe and meet the highest standards for water quality and management."