Joss Bay Image by David Iliff via Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0
There are four main awards given to British beaches which meet the required standards.
Blue Flag beaches are certified by the Foundation for Environmental Education as meeting stringent environmental standards. The criteria include standards for water quality, safety, environmental education and information, the provision of services and general environmental management. Most Blue Flag beaches are in larger and more popular resorts.
The Green Coast Award is aimed primarily at rural beaches which do not necessarily have major local infrastrucure, but nonetheless have excellent environmental qualities.
The Marine Conservation Society Recommended Beaches are those which meet or exceed the criteria for the highest water quality rating.
The Seaside Awards are run by Keep Britain Tidy, and the flag is a symbol of quality which ensures visitors are guaranteed to find a clean, safe, attractive and well-managed coastal stretch.