For the second year in a row, not a single beach in Gwynedd will be able to fly a prestigious Blue Flag award after the council decided not to apply for one.
The council told the Cambrian News that some of Keep Wales Tidy's Blue Flag scheme requirements "are expensive, onerous and at odds with established beach management arrangements", so the decision had been taken not to apply this year.
Releasing a statement on behalf of Anglesey, Gwynedd and Conwy Councils, a Gwynedd Council spokesperson said: "Our beaches are as clean, safe and popular as they have always been. Water quality is measured regularly, with many beaches achieving the highest standard of ‘excellent’.
"Blue Flag is just one accreditation scheme which evaluates beaches based on various criteria. Some of the requirements are expensive, onerous and at odds with established beach management arrangements in North West Wales so we decided not to apply this year.
"Our beaches remain amongst the best in Wales and will continue to attract thousands of visitors again this summer.
“We can confirm that an application for Parc Gwledig Padarn in the Llanberis area has been submitted for the 2023 Green Flag Award.”
When asked if the need for lifeguards was one of the requirements stopping the council from applying for the Blue Flags, a spokesperson said the council had nothing more to add.In 2021, Gwynedd could boast that it had six Blue Flag beaches, but there were concerns raised last year when Keep Wales Tidy announced the winners of the 2022 flag awards and Gwynedd was not on it.
A risk assessment requirement meant it could not be included in last year’s awards announcement. Gwynedd’s failure to appear again this year is as a result of the county not applying for the prestigious awards. Nor did they apply for Keep Wales Tidy’s Seaside and Green Coast Awards.
A spokesperson for Keep Wales Tidy said: “Unfortunately, this year the local authorities of Gwynedd, Conwy and Anglesey chose not to submit any applications to Keep Wales Tidy for the Wales Coastal which includes the Blue Flag, Seaside and Green Coast Award.
“There is one exception, Silver Bay Holiday Park, a private enterprise on Anglesey made a successful Green Coast Award application for the nearby Silver Bay.”
In 2021, Barmouth, Abersoch, Dinas Dinlle, Morfa Bychan, Pwllheli and Aberdaron had Blue Flags, but Keep Wales Tidy said last year that an issue with beaches in north Wales had led to their exclusion from the list. A Keep Wales Tidy spokesperson said then that she was keen to stress that the Blue Flags had not been lost, and they were working with the local authority to come to a swift resolution.
She said: “We are delighted to say that all beaches who have applied have met the required environmental standards, however the international jury have an additional requirement regarding risk assessments on which we are working with the beach managers concerned.”
A Gwynedd Council spokesperson said then: “We have submitted applications in accordance with established arrangements which have secured Blue Flag Awards for a number of years. We have also submitted additional information and understand this is being considered by Keep Wales Tidy as is the case for other authorities in the north west of Wales area.”
In 2022, Criccieth Traeth y Promenade received a Seaside Award but, as well as the Blue Flag Awards, the county did not apply for these awards this year either.
Visit www.keepwalestidy.cymru for a list of this year's Blue Flag beaches.