Surf’s up in Saltburn as Keep Britain Tidy names the popular Tees Valley beach as the winner of a Blue Flag award.
It is the first time Saltburn has been recognised with Blue Flag status for the high quality of the seawater, clean beach and its beachside amenities.
Tracy Hilton, Environmental Protection Officer at Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “This is brilliant news.
“Saltburn is a much loved beach for good reason. It’s a fantastic seaside resort that has something for everyone. Families, dog walkers, surfers and swimmers all enjoy Saltburn so being able to guarantee the quality of the water and cleanliness of the beach is essential.
“As a Council, we’re limited to what we can achieve on our own. Working with partners such as Northumbrian Water, the Environment Agency and Keeping it Clean Saltburn is essential in creating the best possible environment for us all.
“We’re thrilled this hard work has been recognised by Keep Britain Tidy.”
Enjoy the water
Kris Fairest, a surfing instructor from the Saltburn Surf School, welcomed the award. He said: “Obviously knowing the water’s clean gives everyone the confidence they can go in and enjoy the water.
“It’s great for everyone, not just surfers but swimmers and kids splashing in the sea.”
Best beaches in the country
Keep Britain Tidy’s Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “The success of the beaches in reaching the very high standards demanded by both awards is testament to all those who have worked so hard to protect and improve our beaches – from beach managers and volunteers to local people and businesses.
“When you enjoy a trip to a beach flying an international Blue Flag or Seaside Award, you know you are on one of the safest, cleanest and very best in the country.”
Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council has worked alongside some key partners to achieve Blue Flag and Seaside Award status.
Northumbrian Water has carried out major infrastructure works to significantly increase storm water storage capacity and reduce pollution by slowing down the flow rate through the rivers to the sea.
The company also has a team working to identify misconnected pipework, which causes water pollution by allowing wastewater to be carried to surface water sewer as opposed to foul sewer.
£5 million upgrade
Richard Warneford, Wastewater Director at Northumbrian Water, said: “The Blue Flag Award for Saltburn is fantastic news. Over two decades, a huge amount of investment has gone into improving bathing water across the North East. In the Redcar and Cleveland area, we’ve completed a £5 million upgrade to the sewer network in in Guisborough, Dunsdale and Tocketts Bridge.
“This has significantly reduced the frequency and volume of spills to watercourses from our sewer network during times of heavy rainfall which has in turn, led to huge improvements to the quality of water in local streams and rivers and also to bathing water quality.”
The Environment Agency is responsible for protecting water quality and closely monitors bathing water quality by testing the seawater every week during the bathing season operating between May and September.
An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Achieving blue flag status is fantastic news for Saltburn. It is a great example of what partnership working can achieve.
“We recognise the value of the blue flag for beaches and the local economy.
“We continue to play our part in maintaining and improving water quality at all 34 North East bathing waters, including Saltburn, and checking compliance with environmental permits.”
The Agency also operates a daily pollution forecasting service, alerting the Council and the public to occasions when water quality might be impacted by short-term pollution such as heavy rainfall or an incident such as an oil spillage.
Volunteer litter picks
Volunteer group Keeping it Clean Saltburn carries out litter picks of Saltburn with a team of committed people the first Saturday of every month at 11am. The group aims to tackle litter and reduce single-use plastics in the seaside town. In 2018 environmental campaigning group Surfers Against Sewage recognised the group’s effectiveness by awarding Saltburn with Plastic Free Communities status.
Barbara Helen, a member of Keeping it Clean Saltburn, said: “I think it’s amazing Saltburn has won the Blue Flag. It’s down to a lot of team work.”