More than 200 beaches around England’s coasts have received awards for being clean, safe and meeting high environmental standards.
Keep Britain Tidy has announced the winners of 71 Blue Flags and 137 Seaside Awards, an increase of 18 beaches on 2018.
The international Blue Flag and the UK Seaside Awards are quality marks for beaches and mean they are clean, safe and meet high environmental and bathing water quality standards, Keep Britain Tidy said.
Blue Flag beaches also have to run a minimum of five educational activities for the local community and visitors to make people aware of the importance of looking after the natural environment.
The announcement comes as polling for Keep Britain Tidy suggests many people feel a sense of guilt, or even “eco-anxiety”, when they go to a beach or other tourist destination and see plastic rubbish around.
About four fifths of the 2,003 people questioned agreed they would feel more relaxed going to a beach with recycling bins that is less likely to have litter.
Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “Visiting beaches with the Blue Flag or Seaside Award status means beach-goers can feel more relaxed in a setting that is environmentally considerate.
“We as individuals feel emotionally connected to the environment more than ever, with so many experiencing eco-anxiety.
“Keep Britain Tidy continues to push for more environmentally responsible beaches, where visitors needn’t feel this stress.
“We’re incredibly pleased to have even more winners this year than last, proving the great dedication of the beach staff.
“From environmental education for the local community and ensuring responsible beach use, to cleaning regimes and an increasing number of recycling facilities, it is a full-time commitment to create beaches worthy of the awards.
“Thanks to the Blue Flag and Seaside Awards, visitors can be reassured their destination is cared for and they will be able to help maintain the high standards of these awards thanks to their environmental initiatives.”