Sandhaven Beach is once again to fly the flag for the summer season after retaining two coveted national awards for the 12th year running.
The spectacular tourist attraction at South Shields seafront has secured Blue Flag status and the Seaside Award from leading environmental charity, Keep Britain Tidy. The awards act as a guarantee that South Tyneside has one of the best beaches in the world.
Both the Blue Flag and Seaside Awards are the quality marks for beaches and mean that visitors can be sure that they boast top notch facilities, are clean and safe and meet the highest environmental standards.
For many people going to the beach also means a dip in the sea. The awards acknowledge that Sandhaven has met the required European Union standards for water quality.
Councillor Moira Smith, the Council's former Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: "We are thrilled that Sandhaven Beach has received the Blue Flag and Seaside Awards once again.
"It is one of South Tyneside's best assets, attracting thousands of visitors every year. These awards, which are not given out lightly, are yet another ringing endorsement of the quality experience and superb facilities that visitors to Sandhaven can enjoy.
"Our staff and partners work extremely hard to maintain such high standards. These awards are recognition of their commitment and dedication to keeping our beaches looking their best and making sure they are clean and safe for both residents and visitors alike. Well done to all those involved."
Sandhaven is listed among 65 beaches in the UK to receive the international Blue Flag award and one of 125 to secure the Seaside Award. Only 42 beaches achieved both awards.
Keep Britain Tidy's Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: "The success of the 148 beaches in reaching the very high standards demanded by both awards is testament to all those who have worked so hard to protect and improve our beaches - from beach managers and volunteers to local people and businesses.
"When you enjoy a trip to a beach flying an international Blue Flag or Seaside Award, you know you are on one of the safest, cleanest and very best in the country."
In recent years, Sandhaven has seen the completion of a restoration project to help build up and stabilise sand levels to help enhance and protect the sand dunes for the future. This involved installing fencing to trap windblown sand as well as planting a variety of new dune grasses.
A series of improvements have also been completed along Sandhaven's north promenade to help provide better links with the neighbouring Littlehaven Beach and make the area more attractive. These included new hard and soft landscaping, seating, improvements to the public toilets and new access points from the promenade.