Chariots of Fire beach loses Blue Flag
IT IS one of Scotland’s most iconic beaches, made famous by the opening scene in the award-winning movie Chariots of Fire.
But 19 years after becoming the first beach in Scotland to be awarded a Blue Flag, the West Sands at St Andrews has been stripped of the coveted status.
The university town’s East Sands, which gained the award only last year, has also lost the prestigious designation.
The golden sands of Fife, however, continue to reign supreme in the contest to secure the right to fly the internationally- acclaimed Blue Flag with six of the record-equalling eight Scottish beaches awarded the coveted status sited in the kingdom.
Leven Beach, Aberdour Silver Sands, Burntisland and Elie Ruby Bay have all retained their Blue Flag status, while Elie Harbour beach has re-entered the list with Kinghorn’s Pettycur Bay a new entry.
Coldingham Bay, in the Borders, has gained a Blue Flag for the third year in succession and Broughty Ferry, on the banks of Tay estuary near Dundee, has been added to the list.
A total of 61 Scottish beaches – from Machrihanish, in Argyll, to St Ninian’s Isle on Shetland – have been granted Seaside Award status this year, in recognition of the high standards of their cleanliness, safety and water quality. The total is five more than last year and also a record-equalling total.
The new list of resort awards, published by the charity Keep Scotland Beautiful, also includes an Edinburgh beach for the first time – Portobello.
A spokeswoman for Keep Scotland Beautiful said: “St Andrews West Sands beach has been unable to achieve a Blue Flag award this year as it didn’t entirely meet the very highest ‘guideline’ water quality standard over the last year.
“However, it successfully achieved the ‘mandatory’ water quality standard and therefore is receiving the coveted Seaside Award.
“The beach successfully met all of the other Blue Flag criteria, including cleanliness, safety and environmental education, which is a good reflection on all who work so hard in this sphere at Fife Council. Keep Scotland Beautiful is delighted to award 14 of Fife’s beaches with a Seaside Award this year and a Blue Flag to six of its beaches.”
Derek Robertson, Keep Scotland Beautiful’s chief executive, said: “With an increasing number of people choosing to take their holidays at home in Scotland, there has never been a better time to enjoy your local beach. The Seaside and Blue Flag awards highlight that these beaches are an important resource to the local economy and that they are your beaches to enjoy. There is something for everyone amongst this year’s winners – from large beaches with lifeguarded swimming areas and bustling promenades, to secluded bays which are havens for wildlife, and windswept beaches perfect for wind and kite surfing.”
The number of Seaside Awards in Scotland has more than quadrupled over the past 12 years, Mr Robertson said.
“There were just 13 in 2000, so I would like to pay tribute to all the hard work that goes into achieving and keeping these awards by local authorities and communities, and I would encourage everyone, particularly in this economic climate, to make use of the fantastic beaches we have around the Scottish coast this summer,” he added.
Alex Rowley, the leader of Fife Council, welcomed the six Blue Flag awards.
He said: “Unfortunately in 2011 St Andrews beaches could not meet the excellent water quality required for the Blue Flag. In the last 20 years the water quality in Fife has improved greatly due to significant investment. However, with one of the wettest summers on record in 2011, the run-off from the land impacted on some of our beaches.”
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Friday 24 May 2013
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