A dozen beaches in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight have been given prestigious awards.
Four coastal hot spots have won the right to fly the Blue Flag this year, in recognition of their water quality, beach condition and the standard of facilities available.
And 11 beaches around the region have been handed the Quality Coast Award (QCA), for high standards of beach management.
A trio of Isle of Wight resorts, Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor, became the only three beaches across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to pick up both the Blue Flag and QCA titles.
Hayling Island Beachlands completed the quartet of Blue Flag award winners.
The awards will come as a further boost to tourism in the county, after 22 beaches were named in the Good Beach Guide 2012. As reported in the Daily Echo earlier this month, that list included the
coastal areas at Calshot, Lepe, Milford on Sea, and Lee-on-the-Solent.
A total of 20 beaches in the south-east were given the coveted Blue Flag status, while 23 were handed Quality Coast awards. It helped boost the total number of Blue Flag beaches in England to 79 –
nine more than last year.
But a spokesman for Keep Britain Tidy said they expected fewer beaches to get the awards next year, when a tougher water quality standard will be introduced, under the new EU Bathing and Water
Chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, Phil Barton, said: “Winning beaches along our coastline ensure high standards of excellence for visitors.”
The beaches winning Blue Flag Awards are:
• Hayling Island Beachlands
• Ventnor, IoW
• Sandown, IoW
• Shanklin, IoW
The beaches gaining Quality Coast Awards (all IoW) are:
• East Cowes