Rutland inland beach is country's first to get blue flag

A beach at a reservoir has become the first inland water to be awarded a blue flag in England.

Keep Britain Tidy has given Sykes Lane beach at Rutland Water, in Oakham, the flag, as well as a Seaside Award.

The flag is an international award for well-managed beaches with top water quality and environmental education programmes, Keep Britain Tidy said.

Will Kirstein, from Rutland Water, said the team felt "enormous pride" in "achieving these prestigious awards".

He said: "Without doubt, this is down to the care and passion and hard work and diligence of our entire team, who work tirelessly to take care of the environment and ensure water quality is constantly the very best it can possibly be."

It is the first time Rutland Water has been awarded a blue flag or seaside award - and comes after Sykes Lane was only designated as a bathing water last year.

The reservoir also has a Green Flag Award, which recognises well managed parks and green spaces, and it was first given this in 2019.

Anglian Water, which runs Rutland Water, said the reservoir is the first in the country to have a blue and green flag.

Keep Britain Tidy said it manages the blue flag awards on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education.

It is only presented to beaches, marinas, and inland waters with bathing water, that has achieved the highest classification as set by the EU Bathing Water Directive and has an environmental education programme.

Seaside Awards are presented to the best beaches in England and celebrate the quality and diversity of our coastline.

Allison Ogden-Newton, Keep Britain Tidy's chief executive, said: "These awards are a credit to the collective efforts of beach managers, volunteers, residents, and businesses who have worked to maintain, protect and improve some of our best-loved and most popular beaches, and we'd like to take this moment to recognise and applaud them."

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