Frustration over Lowestoft's lost Blue Flag status
- Credit: Archant
Councillors have expressed their frustration at efforts to restore Blue Flag status on a Lowestoft beach.
The town's South Beach lost its Blue Flag status in 2016, when water quality dropped from the required 'excellent' status to 'good'.
Despite claiming a number of Seaside Awards over the years, the Blue Flag status has not been restored.
At a meeting of Lowestoft Town Council's climate emergency and ecological committee on Tuesday, April 12, councillor Andy Pearce was critical of a response on the matter from East Suffolk Council's cabinet member for the environment, James Mallinder.
Mr Pearce said: "It is frustrating because the whole point of the Environment and Waste Working Group was for representatives from the town and district council, Norse, and the community to work across jurisdictions and political boundaries and try to find a joined up way of looking at topical issues and anything that centres on civic pride.
"It was to look at what we can do above and beyond statutory obligations that councils already have to do.
"The one thing that stands out from Mr Mallinder's response is saying 'there's nothing we can do statutorily'.
"How does a response like that sit with the regeneration of south Lowestoft and all the projects in and around South Beach?
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"Whether we are obligated to or not, what is the harm of making an approach to see how we can get it back?"
No beach between Sea Palling and Felixstowe has a Blue Flag.
Councillor Wendy Brooks said: "I have a feeling that East Suffolk Council doesn't have much interest in us getting back our Blue Flag.
"It is just sad that we always had a Blue Flag until it was lost under Waveney District Council and there has never been any attempt to get it back."
A proposal from Mr Pearce saw committee members unanimously agree to approach the Environment Agency to take the matter forward and express their disappointment to East Suffolk Council over the issue.
An East Suffolk Council spokesperson said: “The standard required by Blue Flag beaches is an annual water quality rating of ‘excellent’, based on water quality monitoring results covering the previous four years.
“Lowestoft beach south of Claremont Pier did not apply for a Blue Flag award, despite having received 'good' water quality results based on samples from the previous four years.
“That’s because the prerequisite for Blue Flag application is an 'excellent' result, as in the case of Southwold Pier and Felixstowe beaches this year.
“We are blessed with hugely popular beaches of outstanding quality along the coast of East Suffolk.
"We’re proud that Seaside Awards are currently bestowed on beaches at Lowestoft South of Claremont Pier, Southwold and Kessingland, celebrating the quality and diversity of our coastline, and ranking them among the best beaches in the country.
“Meanwhile, Felixstowe Town Council and Felixstowe Forward, supported by East Suffolk Council, successfully secured both a Blue Flag and a Seaside Award for Felixstowe beach.”