Blue Flag Award Criteria (England)

Environmental Education and Information

  • Information about the Blue Flag must be displayed at the beach. 
  • Environmental education activities must be offered and promoted to beach users. 
  • Information about bathing water quality must be displayed. 
  • Information relating to local eco-systems and environmental phenomena must be displayed. 
  • A map of the beach indicating different facilities must be displayed. 
  • A code of conduct that reflects appropriate laws governing the use of the beach and surrounding areas must be displayed. 

Water Quality

  • The beach must fully comply with the water quality sampling and frequency requirements. 
  • The beach must fully comply with the standards and requirements for water quality analysis. 
  • No industrial, waste-water or sewage-related discharges should affect the beach area. 
  • The beach must achieve ‘excellent’ water quality as set out in the Bathing Water Directive. 

Environmental Management

  • The local authority / beach operator should establish a beach management committee. 
  • The local authority / beach operator must comply with all regulations affecting the location and operation of the beach.
  • The beach must be clean. 
  • Algae vegetation or natural debris should be left on the beach (exceptions apply). 
  • Bins must be available at the beach and they must be regularly emptied. 
  • Facilities for the separation of recyclable waste materials should be available at the beach. 
  • Toilet facilities must be provided. 
  • The toilet or restroom facilities must be kept clean. 
  • The toilet or restroom facilities must have controlled sewage disposal. 
  • There should be no unauthorised camping, driving or dumping of waste on the beach. 
  • During the bathing season dogs must be excluded from the award area of the beach. 
  • All buildings and beach equipment must be properly maintained. 
  • Coral reefs in the vicinity of the beach must be monitored. 
  • A sustainable means of transportation should be promoted in the beach area. 

Safety and Services

  • If appropriate, an adequate number of lifeguards and/or lifesaving equipment must be available at the beach. 
  • First aid equipment must be available on the beach. 
  • Emergency plans to cope with pollution risks must be in place. 
  • There must be management of beach users and events to prevent conflicts and accidents. 
  • There must be safety measures in place to protect beach users. 
  • A supply of drinking water should be available at the beach. 
  • Wheelchair access and accessibility features must be in place for at least one Blue Flag beach in each municipality.