Only two local authority areas in the country, Cornwall (19) and Torbay (13) received more awards, and of seven new blue flags awarded across the country, Southend has scooped three of them.
It means that East Beach, Shoebury Common and Thorpe Bay beaches will join 65 others across England in flying a Blue Flag Award this Summer after meeting the highest standards for cleanliness, facilities and water quality.
In addition, Chalkwell, Jubilee, Bell Wharf and Three Shells (along with the four awarded the Blue Flag) will join another 107 that have been presented with the Seaside Award by Keep Britain Tidy. The Seaside Award recognises beaches that are well-managed and maintained.
Scott Dolling, Head of Enterprise, Tourism and Economic Regeneration, says: “The number of Blue Flags awarded to English beaches has increased by seven this year, of which three are from Southend-on-Sea alone which is an excellent achievement. Added to this, all of our beaches will be flying either the Blue Flag or Seaside Award, telling residents and visitors that they are the best in the country. This is a great boost to our ever growing tourism industry.
“Both awards are the quality marks for our beaches and mean those visiting them can be sure that they are clean and safe and meet the highest environmental standards, as well the tough bathing water quality standards.
“Work is also nearing completion on our exciting lagoon project, meaning that, by this summer, beachgoers eager for a dip in the sea will be able to so whether the tide is in or out.
“Southend welcomes around 6 million visitors per year and the tourism economy supports around 7,000 jobs. Building the lagoon will make the sea accessible all day, every day throughout the summer. Added to the many other regeneration projects taking place along the entire seafront, there are more reasons than ever to visit Southend-on-Sea this Summer.”
Keep Britain Tidy’s Coastal Award Manager Paul Todd added: “It is great that we have been able to award more beaches this year with Blue Flag and Seaside Awards.
“These winners have proved their commitment to providing the best possible beaches for locals and visitors alike and visitors can be sure, if they visit a Blue Flag or Seaside Award-winning beach, they are visiting one of the best beaches in the world.”