Our beaches clean up in the ratings

Beaches in the North-East are among the best in the country, it is revealed today.

South Shields Beach

Beaches in the North-East are among the best in the country, it is revealed today. The Marine Conservation Society marks the 20th anniversary of its Good Beach Guide by recommending 77.5% of the region's beaches for excellent bathing water quality.

Only the South-West has a higher percentage of beaches recommended this year.

The MCS opposes plans by Northumbrian Water to turn off its hi-tech ultra-violet sewage treatment system outside the bathing season.

"The long-term benefits to the environment from this type of technology are now clear," said a society spokesman. The company claims the treatment is not necessary out of season because few people use the bathing waters and the switch-off would save energy.

Recommended beaches include Crimdon, Seaham, Roker, Seaburn, Marsden, Sandhaven in South Shields; King Edward's Bay, Longsands and Whitley Bay in North Tyneside; Seaton Sluice, Blyth South, Newbiggin South, Druridge Bay, Amble, Warkworth, Low Newton, Beadnell, Seahouses and Bamburgh. A basic pass goes to Cullercoats, Newbiggin North and Spittal.

North Tyneside Council has also been granted prestigious Blue Flag status for its beaches at Whitley Bay (south), Tynemouth Longsands (south) and King Edward's Bay.

The Blue Flag is an international award, which recognises clean water, litter-free sands and good facilities.

Last month the trio of beaches, along with Cullercoats, also earned Quality Coast Awards. These awards commend beaches that are a clean place to enjoy a range of activities.

Environmental charity ENCAMS judges the winners of Blue Flags and Quality Coast Awards.

North Tyneside now has more of the awards than any other council between the Scottish Borders and Cleveland.

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Flying the Blue Flag

The Blue Flag Beaches for 2007 are announced today. The North-East winners are:

Seaton Carew Foreshore - Teesside.
Tynemouth King Edwards Bay Beach - North Tyneside.
Tynemouth Longsands South - North Tyneside.
Whitley Bay - North Tyneside.
Roker - Sunderland, Wearside.
Sandhaven - South Shields, South Tyneside.
Seaburn - Wearside.

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