A North East beach has been handed a 'Brown Flag Award' - meaning that issues have been found with cleanliness.

Robbie Lane from Holiday Park Guru gave the flag to the 13 dirtiest beaches in England including Tynemouth/Cullercoats in Tyne and Wear.

Brown flags are a twist on the blue flags used to recognise clean and sustainable waters and were gifted to the beaches ranked the lowest by the Environment Agency.

The Environment Agency currently rates the water at Tynemouth/Cullercoats as 'poor' and advises people not to bathe in the waters.

Mr Lane, a keen sea-swimmer himself, said: "We’re hoping to make a real splash in the papers with the launch of England’s first-ever 'Brown Flag Awards'.

"Commiserations to our 13 winners this year – you are top of the plops.

"We just hope they’ll take up our offer of a free brown flag, although I’m afraid we can’t quite afford to provide a flagpole as well.”

The Brown Flag Awards are reserved for those select beaches which score the lowest-possible ‘poor’ rating, and these are: 

  1. Porthluney in Cornwall
  2. Southsea East in Hampshire
  3. Saint Mary’s Bay in Kent
  4. Littlestone in Kent
  5. Blackpool North in Lancashire
  6. St Annes North in Lancashire
  7. Heacham in Norfolk
  8. Weston Main, Weston Super Mare Sand Bay and Weston Super Mare Uphill Slipway in Somerset
  9. Dunster Beach in Somerset
  10. Bognor Regis, Aldwick in Sussex
  11. Tynemouth (Cullercoats) in Tyne and Wear
  12. Scarborough South Bay in North Yorkshire
  13. Bridlington South Beach in East Riding of Yorkshire

The Brown Flag beaches are those rated 'poor' for water quality by the Environment Agency.  This is because of their levels of bacteria such as e-coli from sewage and other waste. 

The water quality readings are based on readings taken in the warmer months. The sea is less likely to be clean in winter, as it rains more which leads to more unpleasant stuff overflowing into rivers and into the sea, according to the study.

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On the other end of the scale, Holiday Park Guru did have some good news and has also highlighted the best and cleanest seas to swim in this summer.

Which are County Durham's cleanest beaches for swimming?

3 Star Beaches (Excellent):

  • Seaton Carew North Gare

2 Star Beaches (Good):

  • Crimdon (near Parkdean Resorts Crimdon Dene Holiday Park)
  • Seaham Beach
  • Seaton Carew Centre
  • Seaton Carew North

1 Star Beaches (Sufficient)

  • Seaham Hall Beach

Which are Tyne and Wear's cleanest beaches for swimming?

3 Star Beaches (Excellent):

  • Roker
  • Seaburn - Sunderland
  • South Shields
  • Tynemouth King Edwards Bay
  • Tynemouth Long Sands North
  • Tynemouth Long Sands South
  • Whitley Bay

2 Star Beaches (Good):

  • Marsden

1 Star Beaches (Sufficient):

  • None

Zero Star Beaches (Poor):

  • Tynemouth Cullercoats