Tynemouth among first ever beaches to be given 'Brown Flag' award for poor water quality

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A North Tyneside beach has been recognised as having some of the worst seawater quality for swimming this summer, according to a study using Environment Agency data.

UK travel site Holiday Park Guru found that Tyne and Wear is England's fifth cleanest county for swimming in the sea this summer - but Tynemouth Cullercoats beach has been given a 'Brown Flag Award' for being one of the worst. 

The nation's 13 ‘dirtiest beaches’ are being offered the mock accolade, and the 'winners' are being offered complimentary brown flags featuring a poo emoji to display to swimmers. These beaches are rated as 'poor' by the Environment Agency due to bacteria such as e-coli from sewage and other waste.

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Overall, 78 percent of Tyne and Wear’s beaches are considered 'excellent' for the quality of their sea water in summer.  This falls to 77% in Northumberland and just 16% in County Durham.

Keen sea-swimmer Robbie Lane from Holiday Park Guru said: “We’re hoping to make a real splash with the launch of England’s first ever 'Brown Flag Awards'. Commiserations to our 13 winners this year – you really are top of the plops. We just hope they’ll take up our offer of a free brown flag, although I’m afraid we can’t quite afford to provide a flagpole as well.”

On a more positive note, high praise is warranted for England's 273 beaches with the top rating for their water quality - including seven beaches across Tyne and Wear. These are:

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  • Roker
  • Seaburn - Sunderland
  • South Shields
  • Tynemouth King Edwards Bay
  • Tynemouth Long Sands North
  • Tynemouth Long Sands South
  • Whitley Bay

“You can find a full list of all the three star swimming spots at https://www.holidayparkguru.co.uk” added Robbie Lane. “With a bit of research, there's a good chance you will be the only thing floating in the sea this summer!”

The Brown Flag Awards 2024

The Brown Flag Awards are reserved for those select beaches which score a ‘poor’ rating from the Environment Agency’s water quality tests:

  1. Porthluney in Cornwall

  2. Southsea East in Hampshire

  3. Saint Mary’s Bay in Kent

  4. Littlestone in Kent

  5. Blackpool North in Lancashire

  6. St Annes North in Lancashire

  7. Heacham in Norfolk

  8. Weston Main, Weston Super Mare Sand Bay and Weston Super Mare Uphill Slipway in Somerset

  9. Dunster Beach in Somerset

  10. Bognor Regis, Aldwick in Sussex

  11. Tynemouth Cullercoats in Tyne and Wear

  12. Scarborough South Bay in North Yorkshire

  13. Bridlington South Beach in East Riding of Yorkshire

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