Water quality at Lowestoft and Southwold beaches among the best in the country

SUFFOLK'S tourist industry has been given a boost after the county's beaches were rated among the best for quality of water by a new interactive online service.

Detailed profiles of bathing spots – released on the web yesterday by the Environment Agency – put beaches in Lowestoft, Southwold and Felixstowe among the cleanest in the UK.

An interactive map shows users the results of water samples taken from beaches around the UK last year.

The stretch of coast between Lowestoft and Frinton-on-Sea has been highly rated for water quality by the agency, which aims to beat the problem of pollution for the UK's shoreline.

The profiles include maps, photos and links to reports on coastal and inland sites, released to help people choose the best locations to visit.

Tim Passmore, chief executive of Choose Suffolk, said: 'This is great news for Suffolk and all the individuals and groups who work hard all year round to make our beaches and bathing spots some of the best in the UK.

'Water quality is very important and this vote of confidence from the Environment Agency gives us even more reasons to welcome tourists to our coast whether it is this coming holiday season or leading up to the Olympics next year.'

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Ed Mitchell, Environment Agency director of environment and business, said: 'Our new profiles provide the most comprehensive information yet on the cleanliness of bathing waters, helping the public to make more informed choices about the best locations to bathe.

'We are working hard to tackle all sources of pollution, alongside beach users, local authorities, farmers and water companies.'