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EUROPEAN BEACH CRITERIA

WATER QUALITY

Compliance with requirements and standards such as those of the EU Bathing Water Directive (i).

No industrial or sewage related discharges may affect the beach area (i).

Local and/or regional emergency plans to cope with pollution accidents (i).

 

No algal or other vegetation may accumulate and be left to decay on the beach, except in areas designated for a specific use and as long as this does not constitute a nuisance (g).

The community must be in compliance with requirements for sewage treatment and effluent quality such as are contained in the EU Urban Waste Water Directive (g).

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AND INFORMATION

Prompt public warning if the beach or part thereof is expected to or has become grossly polluted or otherwise unsafe. Procedures for issuing public warnings in such cases must be covered by the emergency plan (i).

Information on natural sensitive areas in the coastal zone, including its flora and fauna must be publicly displayed and included in tourist information. The information must include advice on how to behave in such areas (i).

 

The beach operator undertakes:

- to publicly display on the beach updated information about bathing water quality in the form of a table or figure that can be easily understood.
- to display as close to the Blue Flag as possible information about the Blue Flag, including the aspects covered by the Blue Flag and who is responsible at local and national level.
- to remove the Blue Flag if an imperative criteria is no longer fulfilled (i).

The local community and the beach operator should together be able to demonstrate that at least five environmental education activities are offered (i).

Laws governing beach use must be easily available to the public upon request, for example in tourist offices, the town hall or on the beach. Code of conduct for the beach area must be posted on the beach (i).

The local community has an Environmental Interpretation Centre or similar permanent public environmental education place dealing with the coastal environment. Such a centre may be a denoted a Blue Flag Centre if it as a place to obtain information about the Blue Flag and as a focal point for public environmental education activities about the coast and sea (g).

ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

The local community must have a land-use and development plan for its coastal zone. This plan and the current activities of the community in the coastal zone must be in compliance with planning regulations and coastal zone protection regulations. If the community is very small it may be part of a larger regional plan (i).

Litter bins in adequate numbers, properly secured and regularly maintained and emptied. Adequate provision for refuse, algal matter and other pollutants collected at the beach. The waste collected at the beach must be disposed of in a licensed facility (i).

A daily beach clean during the bathing season when necessary (i).

On the beach there will be no:
- driving unless specifically authorised
- beach bike or car races
- dumping
- unauthorised camping
Beaches on which cars are allowed must have designated areas on the beach for parking, car-free zones and the waters edge must always be kept entirely free from cars (i).

There must be safe access to the beach (i).

There must be management of different users and uses of the beach so as to prevent conflicts and accidents. If there are natural areas bordering the beach, steps must have been taken to prevent negative impacts from the use of and traffic to and from the beach and its waters (i).

The beach has facilities for receiving recyclable waste materials, such as glass bottles and cans (g).

The local community is promoting sustainable means of transportation in the beach area, such as bicycling, walking and public transportation (g).

Adequate and clean sanitary facilities with controlled sewage disposal conforming with the requirements of the сriteria concerning EU Urban Waste Water Directive (i).

SAFETY AND SERVICES

Beach guards are on duty during the bathing season and/or there is adequate safety provisions, including lifesaving equipment and directions for their use and immediate access to a telephone. The lifesaving equipment must be of a type that is approved by national lifesaving/-guarding bodies. It must include instructions for use, must be permanently and immediately accessible on the beach and be regularly checked for proper functioning. Similarly, beach guards must be trained and accredited according to national requirements established by authorities or professional associations (i).

First aid must be available on the beach and its location easily identified (i)

National laws concerning dogs, horses, and other domestic animals must be strictly enforced on the beach. Their access and activities must under all circumstances be controlled (i).

A shielded source of drinking water (g).

Easy and ready access to a telephone in cases where the beach is not safeguarded by beach guards, the criteria is imperative (i).

At least one of the municipality's beaches must be equipped with access ramps to the beach and toilet facilities for people with disabilities, except where the topography does not allow for it. In cases where the municipality has only one beach awarded with the Blue Flag, this beach must have access and facilities for the disabled, except where the topography does not allow for it (i).

All buildings and equipment of the beach must be properly maintained (i).

ABOUT THE CRITERIA

The award of a European Blue Flag beach is based on compliance with 27 criteria covering the aspects:

1) Water Quality

2) Environmental Education and Information

3) Environmental Management

4) Safety and Services

Some criteria are imperative (i) whereas others are guideline (g). All imperative requirements have to be fulfilled, and in addition a maximum number of guideline criteria. All Blue Flags are only awarded for one season at a time.

If some of the imperative criteria are not fulfilled during the season or the conditions change, the Blue Flag will be withdrawn.