TWO top beaches in Tendring have been handed prestigious Blue Flags this summer - but a third pulled out of the awards due to a drop in water quality.

Dovercourt Bay and Brightlingsea kept their prestigious status, awarded by Keep Britain Tidy.

But Walton’s Albion Beach, which previously held a Blue Flag award, was not entered this year as coastal works have led to a temporary drop in water quality from ‘excellent’ to ‘good’.

Tendring Council said it plans to re-enter the beach next year once works are completed.

Beaches at Brightlingsea, Dovercourt Bay, Harwich, Frinton, Walton, and Martello Bay in Clacton have all also been given Seaside Awards in recognition of their quality.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Bright huts: Keith Spears took this photo of beach huts near Walton Pier

Seaside Award beaches have amenities at a high standard where they are provided, and a Blue Flag is an even higher globally recognised accreditation for quality beaches, taking into account factors such as water quality and availability of nearby facilities.

Alex Porter, cabinet member for leisure and tourism, said the awards recognised the beauty and quality of seafronts around the district.

“Our Essex Sunshine Coast around Tendring is beautiful and a fabulous place for residents, visitors and the whole tourism industry,” he said.

“This is why we invest so much of our time, effort and indeed money into them, ranging from our Beach Patrol service in the high season, regular upgrades to seafronts, or creating and protecting them with new beaches and cliff stabilisation works.

“Having Blue Flag and Seaside Awards are a great advert for the Essex Sunshine Coast, and as always it must be recognised that it is not easy to keep this status; that is why we decided not to enter Walton this year, but will look to do so – and a new beach in Clacton – next year should the conditions allow.”

Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “The success of these beaches in reaching the very high standards demanded is testament to all those who have worked so hard to protect and improve our blue spaces – from beach managers and volunteers to local residents and businesses.

“The huge commitment needed to maintain marvellous beaches worthy of these awards cannot be underestimated.”