Four beaches lose Blue Flag title

15 May 2012 Last updated at 07:31 ET

Four of Devon’s best-known beaches have lost their prestigious Blue Flag awards from Keep Britain Tidy.

Croyde, Woolacombe and Preston Sands failed to meet the necessary standards. Bigbury-on-Sea did not apply for the flags, which are awarded annually.

Sandy Bay was awarded a flag, however, bringing Devon’s total to 12 – five of which were awarded in Torbay. Westward Ho! received its ninth Blue Flag.

A total of 79 beaches received Blue Flags in England – nine more than 2011.

Forty-one countries take part in the Blue Flag programme, which is managed internationally by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and in England by Keep Britain Tidy.

A Blue Flag application costs 792 and awards are based on a number of criteria, including water quality, environmental management, beach services and safety.

Keep Britain Tidy spokeswoman Helen Bingham said water quality was the reason Croyde, Woolacombe and Preston Sands lost their flags.

More stringent water quality standards will be introduced next year under the new EU Bathing Water Directive, which organisers have said could result in 30% of English beaches losing their flags.

From 2013, Blue Flag beaches will also have to provide warnings to beach users when nearby combined sewer overflows discharge, if that discharge could temporarily affect the bathing water quality.

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Four beaches lose Blue Flag title

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