sea palling reefs (1)

Date published: 15th December 2022

North Norfolk enjoyed a wonderful summer season and experienced record visitor numbers in some locations, with estimates of nearly 400,000 visitors to the beaches – the highest since pre-COVID dates.

From the 2021 to 2022 season, North Norfolk’s fantastic six Blue Flag Beaches were once again recognised as having an ‘excellent’ rating for water quality.

This year, due to changing water quality along the North Norfolk coastline, three beaches have dropped from Blue Flag status to Seaside Award status.

Bathing water quality tests are conducted by the Environment Agency and are carried out at least every 31 days and up to 20 times between May and September to ensure beachgoers are safe to swim at the beaches.

The Environment Agency test the water quality at a designated point on each beach, and each sample is given either an ‘excellent’, ‘good’, ‘sufficient’ or ‘poor’ rating.

These scores are given in accordance with Bathing Water Regulations 2008.

Throughout the 2022 summer seasons water quality testing by the Environment Agency found that three of our six Blue Flag Beaches – Mundesley, East Runton and Sea Palling had ‘good’ water quality instead of ‘excellent’.

Seaside Award status is presented to some of the best beaches in England and celebrates ‘good’ water quality beaches and the diversity of our coastlines.

To qualify for either Blue Flag or Seaside Award status, a beach must meet a certain set of criteria set out by Keep Britain Tidy. These requirements include water quality ratings, safety, and services (lifeguards and first aid provision), litter and waste management and environmental education programmes.

Cllr. Virginia Gay, portfolio holder for Leisure, Wellbeing & Culture said:

“We’re incredibly proud of all of our beaches in North Norfolk, and of the six that until recently have enjoyed Blue Flag status. Deteriorating water quality is the factor which has led to these beaches losing their Blue Flag status, and we are determined to work with the relevant agencies that work to improve water quality of our shores, such as Anglian Water and the Environment Agency.

The good news is that once again, all these beaches have good and excellent water quality and represent a wonderful day out for families and visitors.”

The Council will invite partner agencies to meet to discuss the water quality and will continue to work with these organisations to ensure that positive solutions are achieved so that Mundesley, East Runton and Sea Palling can work towards regaining their Blue Flag Status.

Last updated: 12th April 2023